Health-care professionals across the spectrum usually experience job security, decent to excellent salaries and the knowledge that they are helping people deal with health issues. The field of radiography, or using special equipment to see internal body parts, offers all these benefits, as well as enabling people to enter the workforce in a relatively short amount of time.
Provide Valuable Service
People who work in the field of radiography are called radiologic technicians. Physicians order X-rays for their patients to assist in diagnosis. The radiologic technician performs many tasks to help the physicians get an accurate image. They adjust and maintain the imaging equipment, get patients ready by taking their medical history and helping them understand the imaging process, protect the patient by covering all parts of the body that will not be X-rayed, correctly position the patient and the imaging equipment, operate the various types of imaging equipment, work with radiologists who read the images to determine whether other images need to be taken and maintain accurate patient records, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Won't Accumulate Too Many Student Loans
Radiologic technicians typically earn an associate's degree in applied science, which usually takes two years. Some radiologic technicians earn a bachelor's degree, which takes four years, and some simply earn a certificate, which takes six to 12 months to complete. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) monitors and accredits radiologic technician training programs. JRCERT's website cautions students about "diploma mills," courses that may be promoted as inexpensive or of extremely short duration but are essentially useless because they are not from accredited programs. After completing the course, students in most states need to get licensed by taking a state exam or The American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT) exam.
Earn Good Money
The average annual salary for a radiologic technician in 2010 was $54,340, according to the BLS. The average annual income of all households in the United States for that same time period, as reported by the United States Census Bureau, was $52,762, a figure that counts the salaries of all wage earners in the home. Not only is the salary good, but the projected job growth rate for radiologic technicians from 2010 to 2020 is 28 percent, much higher than the average projected job growth of 14 percent.
Opportunity to Advance
Radiologic technicians can branch out into a number of specialties. They can help women maintain breast health by specializing in mammography. They can earn a certificate in nuclear medicine, which enables them to use radiopharmaceuticals to assist in diagnosis. Radiologic technicians can also earn certificates in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). To work as a specialist generally requires an extra six to 12 months of training.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Radiologic Technologists
- American Registry of Radiological Technologists: Radiography Certification
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology: Excellence in Education
- American Registry of Radiological Technologists: Explore Careers in Radiologic Technology
- U.S. Census Bureau: People Quickfacts
- Loma Linda University: Department of Radiation Technology
- Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images