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Jobs In Radiology - Choosing Jobs in Radiology

programs responsible machines radiation

One of the fastest growing sectors in healthcare for almost two decades running and with no letup in sight is the field of radiology. Radiologic technicians and technologists are used in most every diagnostic office in the United States. They are responsible for operating x-ray machines and other, more modern imaging machines such as those used for CT scans and MRIs. As jobs in radiology continue to open, students compete for limited seats in schools across the nation.

While radiologists are medical doctors, radiographers hold jobs in radiology that are more technical. They operate the machines responsible for imaging the internal human body. Most of these machines work by using a radioactive substance that emits radiation into the body to penetrate the skin. While radiation poisoning is always a possibility for those with jobs in radiology, in practice it is almost unknown because of the use of protective, lead-lined aprons, gloves, and other barriers that resist radiation.

Radiologists are not only responsible for operating the x-ray machines, they are responsible for preparing the patients that are to be scanned or x-rayed. They must listen to the specific orders from doctors and be sure they are getting the specified shots as required. Other parts of the patients’ bodies are covered and protected from the radiation. Those with jobs in radiology must also keep diligent records of all x-rays and update patient charts.

Jobs in radiology require that you be physically fit and have a great deal of stamina. Radiology technicians are on their feet for long shifts and they are responsible for moving, turning, or lifting patients that cannot otherwise do so under their own power. Full-time jobs in radiology are a minimum of 40 hours per week. Most weeks includes weekends, night hours, or on-call duties.

There are three levels of training available that can be used to get jobs in radiology: certificate programs, associate’s degree programs, and bachelor’s degree programs. Because most certificate programs end up lasting 21 to 24 months, most students opt for the associates degree program because it takes the same amount of time, but is considered to be a step up from certificate programs. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology is responsible for accrediting all programs offered in each state. Programs require both classroom instruction and hands-on training.

In addition to formal education, most states require program graduates to pass a state exam for licensure. There is also a voluntary certification program developed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), and many employers hire only those who are certified. After initial certification, 24 hours of continuing education are required every two years to keep it current.

Jobs in radiology are expected to grow by a whopping 17 percent through 2018. This is almost double the rate of the national average of all occupations. The total number of people with jobs in radiology as of 2008 was 214,700, up from 182,000 in 2004. By 2018, total jobs in the field are expected to be more than 251,000. Just over 60 percent work in hospitals. The rest work in private physician offices, clinics, and other patient care or diagnostic centers.

The median annual wages of radiographers is just over $52,000. At the bottom of the scale, the lowest 10 percent earn $35,000 per year, while at the top, the highest 10% earn almost $75,000.

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