Radiology technicians are in demand in today’s healthcare industry. In fact, the need for radiology technicians is expected to increase 12 percent over the next decade.
They are an important member of a medical team and are responsible for producing clear x-rays and images of the body. These images are critical for doctors to diagnose and treat patients.
Radiological technicians operate a variety of imaging machines including mammography, computerized axial tomography (CAT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and more.
An important part of the job is assisting patients throughout each step of their imaging procedure. Being a radiology technician is a rewarding job, but it takes lots of hard work to get there.
If you are hoping to become a radiology technician, take a look at the radiology requirements and some tips on how to be successful in the program.
Radiology Requirements for Education
There are several types of training programs available for future radiology technicians. You can earn a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in this field.
The majority of radiology technicians earn an associate’s degree. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology is responsible for accrediting radiology programs in the United States.
Earning a Certificate
Certificate programs in radiologic technology normally take 1-2 years to complete. Students receive classroom instruction and clinical training that equips them with the necessary skills for entry-level positions in the field.
This type of program may include practicums which allow aspiring radiology technicians to perform some duties of the job with supervision.
An associate’s degree in radiologic technology typically lasts two years. Many community colleges and technical schools offer this type of program.
Students take classes in imaging procedures, imaging analysis, radiographic physics, and radiation safety. Students receive clinical training that focuses on patient care and learning the duties of the job.
Some colleges offer a bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology. Four-year programs in this field focus on diagnostics, patient care, and imaging technology.
A bachelor’s degree prepares students for careers in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Coursework may focus on the principles of radiology, research in radiology, pathology, and special imaging procedures.
Most programs require students to complete clinical practicums that include rotations in various healthcare facilities.
Radiology technicians must have state licensure in order to work in the profession. Each state has its own licensing requirements, and most require students to pass a licensing exam.
A little preparation for this exam goes a long way. Learn more about the licensing exam and how to prepare for it.
Some states will accept certification from the American Registration of Radiologic Technologists (AART) and do not require a licensing exam.
Some radiology technicians choose to earn professional certifications in certain areas of the radiology field. AART offers various programs that include completing a specialized training program and passing a certification exam.
These specialization areas include cardiac intervention, mammography, sonography, and radiologist assistant, among others.
Tips for Being Successful in the Program
If you want to be a radiology technician, you will have to work hard to accomplish your goal. In addition to showing up for class and paying attention, there are many things you can do to be successful in a radiology technician program.
Join a Study Group
Studying on your own is important, but studying with friends can be fun and motivating. Studying with others helps you listen to other perspectives and practice communicating about your chosen profession.
If you are feeling stressed, communicating with others in the same situation can be helpful. You can review the material for class and help each in the process.
Treat Clinical Experience like a Job
When you are studying to become a radiology technician, you will spend time in healthcare facilities learning all about the job. In these situations, you should treat the experience like a job.
You may end up applying for a job there later, and you want to make a good impression. Even if you don’t get a job there, you may need a good reference for another job.
Being professional in a clinical experience includes being on time, being attentive, and treating everyone with respect.
Take Care of Yourself
You may be busy juggling classes and other demands in your life. It’s easy to get caught up in all you have to do and forget about taking care of yourself.
Be sure to eat healthy foods, exercise, and sleep enough. When you feel stressed and tired, you cannot do your best.
A healthy lifestyle can help you focus and stay physically fit. So, put down the books once in a while and take a walk or participate in exercise you enjoy.
Too many students sit in class afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand something in class, don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Failing to ask questions could hurt you when it’s time to take a quiz or test. And chances are someone else in the class has the same question as you.
So don’t be afraid to ask. Your instructors are there to help you.
And be sure to take advantage of your instructors’ office hours. Here, you can ask questions in private and receive one-on-one assistance.
Take Study Breaks
Although most college students pull an all-nighter at some point, this isn’t the best way to retain information. Instead, plan several times throughout the week to study.
After studying for 30 minutes to an hour, take a break for a few minutes. This helps prevent you from getting too tired and will help you be less distracted when you hit the books again.
Don’t Give Up
When things get tough in school, don’t give up. Becoming a radiology technician takes a lot of dedication and hard work.
Keeping your priorities straight and budgeting your time well will help you stay on the right track. Don’t allow the stress of an upcoming exam or one bad grade get in your way.
Focus on the radiology requirements, and keep your goal in sight. And before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your job as a radiology technician.
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