Are you looking for a job in the healthcare field that can become a career? Learn more about how to become a radiology tech here.
For the more than 200,000 people working as radiology techs, this lucrative career path is paying off. Not only do radiology techs make good money, but they’re working in one of the few careers that requires constant learning and growth. If you’re curious about how to become a radiology tech, you’re sure to be surprised by how enriching the job can be.
Here are five steps to ensure you land a great career in the industry.
Consider Why You’re Attracted to This Career
Radiology techs are vital to the world of medicine and need to be trained in multiple disciplines. While other tech workers may not have to deal with people, radiology techs need to deal with the ethics and care that medicine requires. Developing a bedside manner is just as important as understanding the technology.
Patients who come to a radiologist could be fearful and wary of the imaging process. An MRI chamber triggers claustrophobia in many people. Radiology techs need to be able to carefully use their tools while also reassuring anxious patients.
Radiology techs need several skills, including a talent for math in creating precise calculations for mixing imaging chemicals. They also need to be able to work for long hours on their feet and to assist patients who need help with mobility. Techs with attention to detail will excel in the field because they’ll be creating images useful to doctors while protecting patients from radiation.
While the average salary for a radiology tech is around $60,000 a year, salaries vary based on the local market. Even though this job doesn’t even require a bachelor’s degree, the more education you have, the more you can make. Pay can go as high as $80,000 a year for some radiology techs.
Graduate From High School
If you’re still in school considering a career as a radiology tech, graduating from high school is your first priority. Not everyone realizes the potential of this career at a young age, but those who do will be a step ahead of others. Students who excel in math and science will be well prepared for a career in radiology.
Students still in high school should consider working to get into AP math and science courses. Meanwhile, they should also consider volunteering or getting a part-time job in a healthcare setting. This will help prepare students for what life is like in this kind of job.
If you left school without your diploma, don’t fret. Make sure to get your GED as soon as possible. While you might be a step behind other people in the field, you can catch up if you work hard to get your certification later on.
Attend An Accredited Radiology Tech Program
In order to be eligible for ARRT certification, radiology techs should work to earn at least a two-year associate’s degree. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists certifies many people who have completed their bachelor’s degree after four years of study. Either way, the program that you attend needs to be accredited by the ARRT.
If you’re working in radiography, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, MRIs, or sonography your school needs to be recognized by the ARRT.
Getting a bachelor’s degree versus an associate’s degree doesn’t make an applicant more attractive or more qualified in the eyes of the ARRT. However, a higher degree can make it easier to find a job. Many employers require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, while the ARRT only requires an associate’s degree.
In a competitive job market, you’re going to need more education. While your degree needs to be from a program recognized by the ARRT, your degree doesn’t have to be specifically in radiologic technology.
Apply For Certification
There is no national licensing requirement for radiology techs. However, many states have licensing processes, which employers adopt as requirements they look for when filtering through applicants. If you want to get ahead of other applicants, getting certified with the ARRT can help.
In order to pursue certification from the ARRT, you need to show proof of your academic record and submit a “pre-application” that covers the ethics of the work. You’ll also need to pass an exam to show your knowledge and ability related to the work of radiology techs. From day one, the ARRT wants to know that you’re prepared for the entry-level work of a radiology technician.
Entry-level applicants in radiology tech jobs need only to have a certification in radiography. After a few years, getting speciality certification can ensure that you are able to make more money and apply for higher-level work. The ARRT offers specialization in mammography, cardiac interventional radiography, and bone densitometry.
Maintain Your Certification
Every year, certificate holders need to reapply for certification. This ensures that each radiology tech is complying to the ethics and standards of the ARRT. Compliance and technology changes often, so keeping on top of those developments ensures that you provide the best service to patients.
Every two years, the ARRT requires applicants to show proof of their continuing education studies. Radiology techs need to earn 24 credit hours of eligible coursework to stay certified. These courses may be paid for out of pocket or could be covered by your employer.
Every ten years, radiology techs need to complete the CQR. The continuing qualifications requirements help to find and bridge gaps in knowledge and skills to keep techs from falling behind. It’s an industry that’s always growing and changing and the ARRT wants to help all of their applicants keep up.
Think About More Than How To Become a Radiology Tech
To get back to the first step, deciding how to become a radiology tech should start with the question of why the job appeals to you. For anyone looking for a lucrative career that offers the ability to learn and grow, this is the perfect job.
If personalized medicine is what attracts you to this career, check out more information on our blog.