Careers in Radiology
Jan 28, 2019
At some point in our lives, most of us have had the opportunity to meet a Radiologic Technician. Maybe you had to get an X-ray at the doctor's office or dentist's office, or even perhaps the emergency department of your local hospital. Perhaps you had the joy of seeing your unborn baby for the first time when you received your first ultrasound picture. You may have even had an MRI or CT scan done the time you accidentally banged your head on your car door while rushing to your overly demanding and low paying job. No matter what caused your visit, the Radiologic Technician was there to help. According to U.S. News, employment in the healthcare field is set to increase by over 30% in the next decade. With a growing and aging population, becoming an RT is fast becoming a wise career choice. U.S. News also ranks a Radiologic Technician in its Top 30 list of the Best Jobs in Healthcare. This ranking was based in part on the flexibility of career paths, a variety of employment disciplines, and the overall growth outlook in the field. There are basically five different areas of radiology that a new RT can pursue, each of which with varying degrees of specialty subsets: Radiographers- When most of us think of a Radiologic Technician this is the area that we associate most with the profession. A Radiographer operates both immobile and mobile X-ray equipment to assist in patient diagnosis. This technology provides Radiologists with both 2D and 3D images of not only a patients bones but also the veins and organs within the body. An RT can specialize in various forms of radiography such as mammography or bone densitometry, which uses a specially designed piece of X-ray technology to measure bone density in the fight against osteoporosis, among other things. Magnetic Resonance Technologist- Commonly known as MRIs or CT scans, an MRT uses both radio waves and magnets to create a more detailed picture of an area of a patient's body when the primary healthcare practitioner requires a deeper look. An RT can specialize in cardiovascular radiology, pediatric radiology and neuroradiology, which focuses on the intricacies of the human brain, to name a few. Nuclear Medicine Technologist- In this discipline the radiological image is used to determine the functioning level of a particular organ within the body. The RMT injects radiopharmaceuticals into the area to be investigated and then uses a specially designed camera to produce the image. An RT can specialize in imaging various organs including the heart, lungs, and kidneys and be a key player in the treatment of specific organ-related diseases such as a hyperactive thyroid. Sonographers- Possibly the happiest of the disciplines, in this field the Radiological Technician uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image. Most commonly referred to as an ultrasound, a sonographer not only employs this technology in the prenatal healthcare field but also in other specialties as well such as neurological ultrasounds or diagnostic cardiac sonography. Radiation Therapist- A Radiation Therapist assists cancer-treatment patients with radiation therapy, or assist in the treatment of other diseases that require a radiation-based treatment program.