Radiology Tech Programs

X-ray tech in MRI control room

Radiology jobs are a great choice for those who care about others. Professionals in this field use x-ray and computed tomography (CT) machines to capture images that help doctors diagnose and treat medical problems.

Education & Training

Techs attend radiology trade schools to learn how to operate these devices and which techniques are the best choice for each type of situation. Some specialize in a particular application, such as mammography.

Many have training in more than one area of expertise.

Trade Schools with  Radiology Technology Programs

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Coursework usually includes a mix of classroom time and hands-on training. Most graduates earn an associate’s degree, although other programs may provide different credentials, such as a radiology certificate, at completion.

Educational Requirements

Radiology requirements also vary from place to place. Students should check with their school to make sure their education meets state regulations. Even if the law does not mandate testing, many employers prefer their staff members to hold a license issued by a local agency.

Salary

The average salary for the role is $67K each year, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for each state.

State Hourly Annual
Alabama $27.24 $56,670.00
Alaska $41.92 $87,180.00
Arizona $38.39 $79,860.00
Arkansas $28.59 $59,470.00
California $49.59 $103,150.00
Colorado $38.53 $80,140.00
Connecticut $41.05 $85,380.00
Delaware $37.19 $77,350.00
District of Columbia $43.14 $89,740.00
Florida $31.56 $65,640.00
Georgia $32.64 $67,880.00
Hawaii $44.31 $92,170.00
Idaho $35.04 $72,890.00
Illinois $35.59 $74,040.00
Indiana $33.92 $70,550.00
Iowa $30.07 $62,550.00
Kansas $32.28 $67,140.00
Kentucky $30.54 $63,520.00
Louisiana $29.56 $61,480.00
Maine $34.72 $72,210.00
Maryland $37.63 $78,270.00
Massachusetts $44.84 $93,270.00
Michigan $32.77 $68,150.00
Minnesota $37.85 $78,730.00
Mississippi $25.80 $53,660.00
Missouri $32.00 $66,560.00
Montana $33.09 $68,820.00
Nebraska $32.46 $67,530.00
Nevada $41.62 $86,570.00
New Hampshire $37.87 $78,780.00
New Jersey $39.81 $82,800.00
New Mexico $34.59 $71,940.00
New York $41.03 $85,330.00
North Carolina $32.45 $67,500.00
North Dakota $33.05 $68,750.00
Ohio $32.76 $68,140.00
Oklahoma $31.64 $65,810.00
Oregon $43.56 $90,610.00
Pennsylvania $33.38 $69,420.00
Puerto Rico $15.14 $31,490.00
Rhode Island $40.01 $83,230.00
South Carolina $30.28 $62,980.00
South Dakota $30.57 $63,590.00
Tennessee $30.15 $62,710.00
Texas $34.84 $72,470.00
Utah $34.95 $72,690.00
Vermont $37.58 $78,170.00
Virgin Islands $33.35 $69,360.00
Virginia $35.91 $74,690.00
Washington $43.22 $89,910.00
West Virginia $31.05 $64,580.00
Wisconsin $34.71 $72,200.00
Wyoming $34.80 $72,390.00

Occupation: Radiologic Technologists and Technicians (SOC Code292034)
source: data.bls.gov

Career Overview

What Do They Do?

Radiology technicians are responsible for creating images with diagnostic machines. These pictures provide insight into a patient’s health. A worker’s knowledge of this specialized technology makes them an important part of a medical team.

A person with a radiology career assists doctors with assessing injuries, checking the progress of healing, and monitoring certain conditions. They give medical professionals information used to determine treatment options for patients.

Job Duties

  • Explaining procedures to patients
  • Using radiologic machines to take pictures of different body parts
  • Positioning patients for each view
  • Adjusting controls to ensure clear images
  • Evaluating quality and results to aid in diagnosing injury or illness
  • Maintaining safety equipment

Associates in this field have other radiology duties too. Sometimes they may help with other assignments, including clerical work, appointment scheduling, ordering supplies, or preparing medications.

Those in leadership roles will often train and supervise staff members within the department.

What Types of Skills Should Radiology Techs Have?

Radiology schools help prospects gain important knowledge of human anatomy, dentistry, and medicine needed for their role.

However, there are other vital skills they must have to be successful.

Safety First

The most important radiology skill an employee needs to have is a safety mindset. Protecting themselves and others from excessive radiation and other dangers is a critical aspect of this job.

Radiology technologists also must consider patient comfort as they position them to take each image to prevent further injury.

Compassion

Those in the medical field interact with others all day, every day. Many times, the individuals they help are sick or in pain, so providing excellent customer service is a must.

Without compassion and professionalism, patient care will suffer.

Listening & Communication

To deliver the best possible experience, team members need to listen well. They also should communicate well with many different types of individuals.

People have the right to ask questions and get thorough answers. Also, to assist doctors or other staff, techs have to be able to share information both in person and in writing.

Detail Oriented

To capture quality images, technicians follow precise instructions and procedures. This ensures they capture views at the right angle and that each picture is crisp enough to allow for clear interpretation.

Something as small as an incorrect setting can cause the results to be useless. For these reasons, employees should pay close attention to every aspect of their work.

What are Useful Skills for People in This Field?

  • Computer savvy
  • Time management
  • Active learning
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making
  • Ability to identify and troubleshoot problems
  • Physical strength and dexterity
  • Oral and written comprehension
  • Monitoring skills

Work Environment

People with radiology careers spend hours at a time on their feet.

Potential Hazards

Technicians may also have to lift and turn patients, which can expose them to infectious diseases. Radiation hazards also come with the job. However, each staff member wears a special badge that helps monitor their risk.

Sanitary Measures

Staff members must work hard to ensure their work area stays safe. They must clean up spills or bodily fluids immediately to avoid spreading bacteria or disease.

Radiology equipment like glasses, gloves, and vests should be in good repair, organized and accessible at all times.

Hours

Full time schedules are the norm in this field. Depending on the setting, shifts may vary based on patient needs. Some locations require that team members be available in the evenings, on weekends, or overnight.

Where Can They Work?

Hopefuls can find radiology job opportunities in many different settings. Some facilities are government run, while others are part of private practices or larger health systems.

Examples of these facilities include:

  • Urgent care centers
  • Hospitals
  • Physician’s offices
  • Diagnostic labs
  • Other outpatient clinics

Most positions will differ a little depending on the setting. For example, those in hospitals may transport patients more often than someone in an office would.

The main part of this role will be assisting medical professionals with exams and treatments, keeping accurate records, and communicating results to doctors.

Can You Work Remotely?

Because of the equipment required, radiology techs need to work on site. Employees may split their time between several locations though.

They may also be in a different office than the referring provider and often rely on computer systems to send images and results.

Career Growth

Some technologists pursue additional radiology training to increase their earning potential and acquire new skills. Many locations require continuing education to renew licensing.

Learning other imagery techniques like magnetic resonance imaging or sonography can help them grow professionally.

Having more education lets workers specialize in different modalities or therapies. Prospects who study how to use an ultrasound may decide to work in obstetrics or cardiology, for example.

Networking with others in the medical field can also lead to new or exciting employment opportunities.

What are Other Career Options for Radiology Techs?

Sonographer

Those who attend radiology schools can pursue careers in similar medical professions. With extra training, workers can learn to operate other equipment.

For example, medical sonographers run tests and capture images with ultrasound. MRI technologists inject patients with special dyes and use magnetic scanners to produce pictures for physicians to review.

Radiation therapist

There are other roles that individuals with radiology skills might like. Radiation therapists help those with cancer by giving radiation treatments. Nuclear medicine is another option. These workers prepare radioactive drugs and give them to patients before procedures or as therapy.

Vet Tech

People that have radiology degrees and love animals could also consider becoming veterinary technicians.

They assist with tests and help treat illness and injuries in pets and livestock. Although the salary is lower in this field, many find the work very challenging and rewarding.

Hopefuls will need to learn about proper restraint and animal anatomy. Many states also require licensing before starting work.

Previous knowledge of different imaging techniques can be helpful when assisting doctors in an emergency clinic or veterinary practice.

Career Outlook

Experts suggest jobs for workers with a radiology degree will grow faster than average. Demand will likely rise as the population ages and more people need treatment for disease. Professionals with many certifications will appeal most to employers, so prospects should continue to learn to improve their chances at getting the best positions.

Radiology Technologists Career Q&A

An interview with Deanna Nieves who earned her diploma in Medical Assisting and Basic X-Ray Technology at Central Florida Institute in the Tampa Bay area.

How long did the Medical Assisting and Basic X-Ray Technology diploma program take you?

It took 9 ½ months.

What is your current career?

I’m a medical assistant.

Describe a typical day in your current career?

I work in a pediatrics office, so I spend time mostly doing school physicals and making sure that children are up-to-date with their immunizations. I also work the front desk making appointments and taking phone calls, that kind of thing.

How did your training help you get into this career?

Well before I was doing finance work, so with out the training I would never have even been able to apply for a job like this.

Were you happy with the training that you received?

Yeah definitely, I would recommend the school to anyone.

Favorite classes and why were they your favorite?

There was Phlebotomy and basic X-Ray class that were the best.

The teacher in phlebotomy really showed a technique that you would never forget, and was really a good teacher. And, Basic X-Ray was the longest course you had about getting all the basics. Really helped because in the state of Florida only 2 types of people are allowed to take x-rays.

Who was the teacher in that phlebotomy class that you mentioned?

Mr. Senger.

What did you take from the program that you use in your everyday job tasks?

Mostly pharmacology, drawing medicines. You do it everyday, and especially working with kids, it’s a lot of calculations.

What was the most important class/lesson from the program?

At the whole they were all really important.

How much did it cost for you to complete the program?

It was about $12,000.

Did you receive any financial aid or scholarships? Which ones? Were these easy to obtain?

I did have financial aid in the form of education assistance from my previous employer and Pell grants. The school helped me. They have the financial aid department, and they took me step by step because it was not even something I was going to try.

Did you go to school on a full-time or part-time basis?

Full-time.

Were any of your classes online?

I did not take any online.

Did you consider other programs?

Yes, I was considering being a Sonogram technician.

Why did you choose the one you did?

The school gave me access to view a website to see what kind of jobs were available, I wasn’t willing to travel, and there weren’t any jobs in that field in that area.

Would you recommend this school to someone else?

Yes, definitely.

Why?

The teachers stay after class. There’s never a question you couldn’t get an answer to. If they didn’t know they would find out. I’ve heard a lot of bad things about other schools.

But we knew everyone in the school, they were always there to help us, they did a great job. Also, you don’t get phlebotomy or x-ray classes with other medical assisting programs and here you could go either way, with x-ray or cardio technician.

What was the most difficult part of the program for you?

Not really anything too difficult. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA, I was in the honor society, and in another group of students helping other students.

About how many other students were in your classes?

They were intimate – about 30 in the medical assisting program. Then it broke into x-ray and cardio and there were about 10 to 15 in each.

For your particular program, are there any special licenses or certifications that you need to receive before getting a job? If so, what are they and what do they entail?

There’s a basic x-ray license, and there’s a few accreditations for medical assisting, could be RNA, CNA, or NCNA certifications.

They prepared us to go out and take the tests ourselves, but our class was the last one like that. Now they include the test in the program and in the tuition, so tuition has gone up a little. I graduated in 2009.

Any other advice you would give based on your experiences there?

Make sure you do your research before changing careers so that you know what you’re getting into and what jobs are available, so you don’t have expectations that are unrealistic.

I went from working full time, to going to school full time, I was never a good student, but luckily I was really interested in the subjects so I felt like I dedicated my time, my weekends, to study and really be a good student this time.

Did the school provide any help to ease that transition into becoming a student again?

I think there were classmates that helped me do that. They were in similar situations and we forced ourselves to be better students.

Related Resources

Becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer in Texas
Becoming a Radiologic Technologist in Texas
Becoming a Medical Sonographer in California
Becoming an Ultrasound Technician in Florida
Becoming an X-ray Technician in California
Becoming an X-ray Technician in Florida