Radiologic Technologist: How To Get An Education

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The healthcare field is a vast landscape of professionals ranging from technologists, to nurses, to doctors, to surgeons, all working towards one common goal. This goal being the betterment of patient health while trying to achieve the epitome of patient care. Radiographers fall under the category of technologists, and although their job may seem simple, it is quite difficult often times. These technologists are often part of a medical or surgical team and are trained to use radiation in the form of x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, or ultrasound to asses, diagnose, and treat patients for a variety of injuries and diseases. Usually they are involved in the initial patient evaluation and report their finding to a physician for further evaluations. This leads me into a radiographers scope of practice which can range from minor to more complex tasks such as providing great patient care, preparing patients for procedures, applying the ALARA principles which stand for “as low as reasonably achievable”, in order to prevent over exposing a patient to radiation and minimizing the dose.

Radiographers are also trained as well to provide venipuncture. Each specialty has its own set scope of practice, so depending on a radiographer’s specialty, be it, CT, MRI, X-ray, Ultrasound, etc., the scope of practice can range even further out. This scope of practice for any radiographer is to be followed alongside a set code of ethics provided by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Ethics such as acting in a professional manner, having respect and dignity for mankind, refraining from the use of illegal drugs, not discriminating patients while providing patient care, demonstrating expertise in minimizing radiation exposure, and practicing ethical conduct in accordance to the profession.

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In order to become a radiographer a person must complete a prerequisite set of general courses, such as your math and sciences, which allow you to apply to the 2-year radiography program. The program consists of a set of classes which range from regular classes training you on how to position patients to clinical courses which allow you to gain experience and see first hand what it is a radiographer does exactly in the field. After a person finishes the program, they take a board exam which is made by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Upon competition and succession of the exam, the person then receives a license which allows them to begin their search for work in the healthcare field. In the South Florida area, there are a variety tech schools that offer the chance to take this program if one chooses to do so. Schools such as Miami Dade College and Kaiser University are among these places. The program will take roughly 2 years to finish for Miami Dade College, as well as Kaiser University students, although Kaiser does offer an accelerated course allowing you to finish in even less time. The yearly tuition for students attending Miami Dade college will be roughly 3,000 dollars where as the tuition for students at Kaiser University will be 18,500 dollars. After completing of the program and succession of the boards, students will receive an Associates in Science alongside a license which registers them as official Registered Radiographers in the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, which are requirements to work in any healthcare environment.

In 2016 there were roughly 241,700 jobs available for this profession and since then the job outlook has been expected to increase by 13% between 2016-2026. In order to get a job, aside from the requirements needed such as a license, most jobs would also like to employ seasoned technologists, although it is not a requirement. Salaries for this profession can range depending on the specialty from and “as a newly certified radiographer, your starting salary is likely to be $42,000, rising up the pay scale to $61,000 with time and experience”, with the highest of earners making more than 82,000 yearly in 2016. There are many advancement opportunities, although many, if not all, require additional education. Opportunities such as branching out to different specialties like CT, MRI, Ultrasound, and so on, or choosing to become a supervisor, assistant director, or director of the radiology department.

After completion of the radiography program and successful attainment of a license, “all radiologic technologists must earn 24 CE credits every 2 years. These credits can be earned by completing educational activities that meet criteria established by the ARRT”.

So, the profession of a radiologist is not simple and complex. But it is definitely interesting and allows you to benefit people.

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