A radiology technician, also known as a radiographer, takes X-rays, conducts scans, like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, computed tomography (CT) scans, and other imaging tests that help diagnose numerous diseases and ailments. The required courses are offered by many universities, colleges, and hospitals, and the main employers are hospitals and diagnostic centers.
There are certificate, associate degree, and degree courses that offer formal training to become a radiology technician. The duration of these courses vary from 1 to 4 years. Many students opt for the associate degree program. Radiographers or nurses with experience in this field usually prefer a 1-year certificate course in order to improve their skill set in a particular field. A bachelor's degree is chosen by students who want to become teachers, administrators, and supervisors. The formal training programs include courses in radiobiology, radiophysics, medical ethics, medical terminologies, patient care procedure, human anatomy and physiology, and basic principles of training.
Duties and Responsibilities
A radiology technician explains the basic procedure of taking diagnostic tests, and must give the patients required information to undergo these tests safely, without any apprehension. This includes things like removing metallic objects on their body, as they interfere with the tests. They also have to see that the patient is suitably garbed for the test, as some tests, like X-rays, need only the portion of the body to be X-rayed exposed. To ensure this, portions of the patient's body that are not to be exposed to the X-rays are covered with lead shields. They also have to place the instrument properly so as to correctly focus it to the specified body part. After suitable experience, these professionals will be required to handle the more complex radiology instruments. They also responsible in administering contrast solutions, in required by the test. Usually, contrast solutions are needed in order to examine the soft tissues in the body. Besides conducting tests and getting patients ready for the tests, they create and maintain a work schedule, and keep an account of purchase of new equipment. A radiology technician must also maintain good relations with patients.
In addition to the above, these professionals must also have the ability to interpret the results of the tests that they have performed on the patient, and give a detailed report along with the results. They must be able to distinguish any abnormalities in the patient. The scans and test determine fractures in bones, cysts, and tumors in the body parts. Abnormal growth of some organs are also identified. The total working hours in this profile are around 40 hours per week. However, there can be emergency calls, even at night. Some go to the patient's home with the necessary equipment for diagnosis in case of emergencies.
Radiographers must wear protective gloves, shields, and aprons to prevent harmful radiation from affecting them. They must have good stamina because they have to stand and perform various tests for the whole day. The salary for these professionals is decided on various factors. Besides qualification and experience, the location of this job also plays an important role in deciding the salary.
Experienced radiology technicians can work as administrators in diagnostic centers, or teachers at training centers. While the responsibilities may seem daunting, the salary is good, and the future in this job is secure.