Careers in Radiology
What is it?
Diagnostic imaging (radiography) involves the use of x-radiation or other forms of energy to construct images of the human body for the purpose of diagnosing disease. It is an essential branch of medical science. Technologists use highly sophisticated computers and equipment to assist physicians in patient care.
The radiologist is a medical doctor and usually receives assistance from a radiological technologist. A technologist operates the radiographic equipment to produce images. This involves explaining procedures to reassure the patient and obtain cooperation, positioning the patient on the examining table, and adjusting immobilization devices to obtain optimum views of specific body areas. The technologist moves the imaging equipment into position and adjusts equipment controls to set exposure based on knowledge of the procedure and on established guidelines. To prevent unnecessary radiation exposure during some procedures, a technologist uses radiation protective devices, such as lead shields, and limits the size of the x-ray beam. The technologist may also operate mobile x-ray equipment to obtain images in the emergency room, operating room, or at the patient's bedside. Technologists assist radiologists in the use of plain radiology, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound (US).
A technologist has 1-4 years of formal training, leading to a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree. With additional training, a technologist can specialize and work almost exclusively with specialized radiographic equipment (such as ultra-sonography, mammography, radiation therapy and many more). Radiographic technologists are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Two-year associate degree programs are most prevalent.
Will I get a job?
Employment of radiologic technologists and technicians is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014, as the population grows and ages, increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging. In the northern Virginia region, the current manpower shortage in this profession averages 15 percent; by 2020 the projected manpower shortage is 43 percent. (Source: The Health Care Workforce Shortage: An Analysis of the Scope and Impact on Northern Virginia, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2005.)
What will I get paid?
Average annual earnings of radiologic technologists and technicians were $62,767 in May 2004. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of radiologic technologists and technicians in May 2004 were: Medical and diagnostic laboratories………………. $ 57,273 General medical and surgical hospitals…………... $ 48,938 to $72,385 Offices of physicians…………………………………$ 57,273
Educational and Career Pathways
Associate in Applied Science Degree
Where to study in the northern Virginia region:
Northern Virginia Community College Medical Education Campus
6699 Springfield Center Drive
Springfield, VA 22150
Contact: Marilyn Sinderbrand, Assistant Dean,
Upon successful completion of degree requirements, the students are eligible to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technology (ARRT) examination leading to certification as a Registered Technologist in Radiography: A.S., R.T.(R). More than half of the 182,000 jobs are in hospitals. Most of the rest were in offices of physicians; medical and diagnostic laboratories, including diagnostic imaging centers; and outpatient care centers.
Transfer Information: NVCC has formal articulation agreements for transfer to the B.S. in Radiologic Science at Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.S. degree in Health Sciences-Health Care Management at Old Dominion University TELETECHNET and Old Dominion University at Norfolk, VA.
Career Studies Certificate
This career studies certificate in Computed Tomography (CT) is designed as an enhanced-competency module to provide expertise in computed tomography to registered technologists. This curriculum will prepare registered technologists for employment as computer tomographers in hospitals and imaging centers. Courses will fulfill professional continuing education (CEU) requirements, including the American Society of Radiologic Technologists’ ECE program
MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING
Career Studies Certificate
This career studies certificate is designed as an enhanced-competency module to provide expertise in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to registered technologists. This curriculum will prepare registered technologists for employment as MRI technologist in hospitals and imaging centers. Courses will fulfill professional CEU requirements, including the American Society of Radiologic Technologists’ ECE program.
This ten-week program, intended for persons currently working in health care settings, prepares you to:
- Work as a Radiological Technologist-Limited (as defined by Virginia Regulation 18 VAC 85-101-10 et.seq. of the Virginia Board of Medicine).
- Perform routine radiological procedures under the supervision of a licensed physician.
- Learn image production/equipment operation, radiation protection, and radiographic procedures for anatomical areas including head and sinuses, spine, chest, and upper and lower extremities.
- Qualify to take the Limited Radiography examination for certification, required for licensure in Virginia.
- Must be currently working in a doctor’s office or urgent care setting.
- Letter from the supervising physician who will observe and verify your x-ray techniques at your facility to confirm their understanding of the program.
- This program is not valid for people working in acute care settings such as hospitals. Contact: Office of Continuing Education at 703-822-6523 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bachelor’s Degree in Radiologic Science at Virginia Commonwealth University
This radiography curriculum allows students spend their sophomore and junior years learning the fundamentals of diagnostic imaging.Students spend their senior year in advanced practice areas such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and administration.
Contact information about the B.S. in Radiologic Science at Virginia Commonwealth University:
Department of Radiation Sciences
School of Allied Health Professions
Virginia Commonwealth University
Post Office Box 843057
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3057
(804) 828-9104 FAX (804) 828-5778