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Career Fact Sheet: Radiography

by Dachell McSween

There are a variety of career paths available for professionals in the medical field. If you are looking for a career in a growing area, consider a job in radiography. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that positions in this field will increase by 28 percent through 2020. Common positions in this field include MRI technician, radiographer and radiologic technician.

Responsibilities

Radiography professionals are responsible for conducting diagnostic imaging exams, such as an MRI and CAT scan, on patients to determine any injuries or diseases. Exams vary from a simple hand x-ray to an in-depth analysis to find cancer. They prepare patients for exams including taking their medical histories and answering questions. Radiography professionals protect patients by covering exposed areas during an exam. They also work with radiologists to read the images and determine any additional images needed. Some radiography professionals may specialize in certain medical areas. While a cardiovascular technologist performs diagnostic imaging exams on the heart, a nuclear medicine technologist conducts diagnostic imaging exams on various parts of a patient's body.

Education

You need at least an associate degree in radiography to be considered for positions in this field. Certificate and bachelor's programs are also available. Most states require radiography professionals to become licensed or certified by graduating from an accredited radiography program, completing clinical experience requirements, and passing an exam administered by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Radiography professionals must renew their registration with the ARRT every ten years by meeting continuing-education requirements to remain certified in the field.

Skills

Common skills needed for a radiography career include being detail-oriented, a team player, and showing compassion to patients and other staff. They must also have a strong knowledge of science and math. Since radiography professionals work with diverse groups of people, including children and senior citizens, they must be patient and have good communication skills. They should also be comfortable using diagnostic-imaging equipment to perform exams on patients.

Working Environment

Although many radiography professionals work in a hospital setting, they also work for private physicians' offices, medical clinics, diagnostic centers and outpatient care centers. During emergency situations, they may work on call, in the evenings and on weekends. They also tend to be on their feet for long periods of time. Radiography professionals must wear lead aprons, gloves and other protective devices to minimize exposure to radiation and diseases.

About the Author

Dachell McSween has contributed to the "New York Daily News" and "Black Enterprise Magazine." She also writes for various online publications. McSween received a B.A. in journalism from Pace University and an M.S. in publishing from New York University.

Photo Credits

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