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Radiologic Technician

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Job Duties 

Working Conditions/Requirements 

Education & Preparation 

Job Openings & Entry Method 

Earnings & Advancement 

Employment & Outlook 

 

Sources of Additional Information 

 

 

 

Radiologic Technicians (also called Radiographers, Radiographic Technologists, X-ray Technologists, or X-ray Technicians) assist radiologists or other physicians in the use of x-ray and fluoroscopic equipment in the diagnosis of disease or injury. X-rays act on photographic film to produce radiographs or pictures which allow the physician to study internal organs and bones. Fluoroscopes utilize x-rays to allow the physician to observe directly the internal parts of a patient's body through an image display system. 


 

JOB DUTIES  

Radiologic Technicians may: 

Arrange devices which lessen discomfort and prevent the patient from moving 

Position the patient for x-ray of the desired area and shield other areas from radiation 

Adjust equipment to give a clear view of the patient's body 

Measure the thickness of areas to be x-rayed 

Determine proper voltage, current, and exposure time for each x-ray 

Prepare and administer mixtures which the patients may need to take 

Process film 

Keep records and files of x-ray services 

Label film with the patient's name, age, or other identifying data 

Clean and make minor adjustments to equipment 

Train other employees 

Click here to learn more about the field of Radiologic Technology.  

Tools, equipment and materials used may include: 

Radiologic Technicians may use x-ray equipment and other specialized diagnostic equipment, such as computerized tomography machines (which produce computerized cross-section images), magnetic resonance imaging equipment, and mammography equipment. They may also use: 

* Fluoroscopes 

* Protective garments 

* Cameras and film 

* Binders and angleboards 

* Sandbags 

* Calipers (measuring tools) 

* Film processing equipment 

* Nonradioactive diagnostic equipment 


OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTIES 

Radiologic Technicians may specialize in these areas: 

078.362-026 RADIOLOGIC TECHNICIANS with additional training may specialize according to whether they work primarily in diagnosis or treatment of diseases. They may also specialize in the use of specialized equipment (see Medical Special Procedures Technologist, Career Exploration script #429 ) or in procedures using the radiation on certain parts of the body. Some of these workers, called nuclear medicine technologists, specialize in the use of radioactive materials in the examination of patients (See Career Exploration script #306 ). Technologists who assist radiologists in the treatment of patients with diseases, such as certain types of cancer, are called radiation therapy technologists. 

In addition to learning about these specialties, you may find it helpful to explore the following Career Exploration scripts: 

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WORKING CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS 

Radiologic Technicians usually work under the direction of physicians in well-equipped rooms of hospitals, doctors' offices, HMOs, or clinics. In hospitals, some Technicians may work at the patient's bedside or in emergency or surgery rooms operating mobile x-ray equipment. Many technicians are on their feet a lot and may be required to lift or turn disabled patients. Others work in medical laboratories and for private industry where conditions vary. 

Radiologic Technicians are protected from radiation by using protective equipment such as lead shieldings, by following rigid safety procedures, and by wearing film badges to monitor exposure to radiation. 

In hospitals, Technicians generally work an 8-hour day, 40-hour week that may include evening and weekend or on-call hours. Some hospitals offer extremely flexible work schedules. For example, a technician may choose to work three 13-hour days a week. Part-time work is widely available. Working hours in doctors' offices and other locations vary. 

Radiologic Technicians may join the American Society of Radiologic Technologists , state-affiliated organizations, or employee associations at work. Members must pay periodic membership fees. 

You Should Prefer: 

  • Activities involving direct personal contact to help people
  • Activities of a scientific or technical nature
  • Activities which bring personal satisfaction from your work

You Should Be Able To: 

  • Notice detail in drawings and differences in shapes or shadings
  • Rate information by standards that can be measured or checked
  • Follow oral and written directions precisely
  • Communicate clear, exact instructions to patients
  • Deal with people beyond giving and receiving instructions

Math Problem You Should Be Able to Solve: 

Using scatter-air ratios, calculate the tissue-air ratio for a 4x15 cm field at a depth of 10cm in a water phantom. Use 10 degrees intervals over one quadrant. 

Reading Example You Should Be Able to Read and Comprehend: 

At higher values of temperature, there is a limit to the filament heating current and thus to the tube current, as the filament may undergo distortion, while at temperatures significantly lower than required for the filament to actually melt, the evaporation of tungsten atoms will take place. 

Writing Example You Should Be Able to Produce: 

Prepare a file for a patient including information regarding the patient's chest x-rays. 

Thinking Skill You Should Be Able to Demonstrate: 

Must demonstrate excellent analytical skills when assessing and preparing individuals for x-rays and when processing film. 

Although certification is not mandatory at present in Michigan, most employers require that the Technician be registered with national organizations such as The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) . To be registered, Technicians must complete formal training in an American Medical Association (AMA) approved hospital or school. High school graduation or its equivalent is required for acceptance into a radiologic technology program. Special registration is also available for Technicians who obtain additional education and training in nuclear medicine technology, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, radiation therapy technology, and other related special areas. 

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EDUCATION AND PREPARATION OPPORTUNITIES 

NOTE: A High School Diploma or Equivalent or a Certificate (program of up to one year of study beyond high school) or an Associates Degree (two years of study beyond high school) or a Bachelor's Degree (four years of study beyond high school) may qualify a person for this occupation. 

The following education and preparation opportunities are helpful in preparing for occupations in this Career Exploration script: 

***SCHOOL SUBJECTS*** 

0600 BUSINESS , 0700 CAREERS , 0900 COMMUNICATIONS , 1000 COMPUTERS , 1800 HEALTH & HEALTH CAREERS , 2200 MATH , 2900 SCIENCE , 3300 TECHNOLOGY 

***VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS*** 

There are no Vocational Education Programs related to this Career Exploration script 

Students should obtain the local Education & Training Opportunities for information on what happens to students who successfully complete a program. This information is available at each high school or career/technical center.   

***POSTSECONDARY PROGRAMS*** 

149 RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGY 

Radiologic Technology programs provide opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills needed for employment in hospitals and clinics taking and processing X-ray photographs of patients for doctors and other medical specialists. 

Courses vary from school to school but may include: 

English & Speech 

Radiologic Services 

Mathematics 

Radiology Administration 

Natural Science 

Techniques in Positioning 

Anatomy 

Specialized Fields in Radiology 

Chemistry 

Clinical Practicum 

Radiologic Physics 

Medical Terminology 

Medical Law & Ethics 

Principles of Diagnostic Imaging 

Computer Science 

  Search for a College and/or Instructional Program   

***APPRENTICESHIP OPPORTUNITIES*** 

There are no Apprenticeships related to this Career Exploration script   

***MILITARY TRAINING PROGRAMS*** 

Please check the Military web site at http://www.todaysmilitary.com. 

RADIOLOGIC (X-RAY) TECHNICIANS 

Radiology (the use of X-rays) is a health care service provided to men and women in the military. X-ray photographs help doctors detect injuries and illnesses. Radiology is also used to treat some diseases, such as cancer. Radiologic technicians operate X-ray and related equipment used in diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases. They work as part of a medical team of doctors and specialists to provide health care to patients. 

What They Do 

Radiologic technicians in the military perform some or all of the following duties: 

  • Read requests or instructions from doctors to determine each patient's X-ray needs
  • Position patients under radiologic equipment
  • Adjust X-ray equipment to the correct time and power of exposure
  • Process X-ray pictures
  • Prepare and administer radioactive solutions to patients
  • Keep records of patient treatment

Work Environment 

Radiologic technicians work in hospitals and clinics. In combat situations, they may work in mobile field hospitals. They follow strict safety procedures to minimize exposure to radiation. 

Training Provided 

Job training consists of classroom instruction, including practice with radiologic equipment. Extensive on-the-job training is also provided. Training length varies depending on specialty. Course content typically includes: 

  • Operation of X-ray equipment
  • Radioactive isotope therapy
  • X-ray film processing
  • Anatomy and physiology

Additional training occurs through advanced courses. 

Helpful Attributes 

Helpful school subjects include algebra, biology, and other science courses. Helpful attributes include: 

  • Interest in activities requiring accuracy and attention to detail
  • Ability to follow strict standards and procedures
  • Interest in helping others

Civilian Counterparts 

Civilian radiologic technicians work in hospitals, diagnostic clinics, and medical laboratories. They perform duties similar to military radiologic technicians. They may specialize in various area of radiology and may be called X-ray technologists or nuclear medical technologists. 

Opportunities 

After job training, technicians start taking routine X-rays. With experience, they may specialize in nuclear medicine and administer radiation and radioisotopic treatment and therapy. In time, they may advance to become supervisors of radiologic units. 

E-Learning Courses and Programs 

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPERIENCE AND METHODS OF ENTRY 

Volunteer work in hospitals or with such organizations as the Red Cross is a good method of exploring the health services occupations. Experience is also available in the military or through a postsecondary program in radiologic technology.   

School-to-Work opportunities include: 

informal apprenticeships 

mentorships 

job shadowing experiences 

touring a local Radiologic Technician employer 

internships 

volunteer work with a Radiologic Technician employer 

community service work with an agency 

Radiologic Technicians may find jobs through placement offices connected with training programs, by direct application to employers, and by reading newspaper want ads. Professional associations also keep lists of job openings. Assistance may be available from local Michigan Works! offices. In addition, you should access and search the Internet's on-line employment services sites such as: 

Michigan Jobs & Career Portal 

Michigan Talent Bank 

simplyhired.com 

Indeed | one search. all jobs. 

MONSTER.COM 

CareerBuilder 

MedHunters.com 

Medzilla.com - Doctors & Nurses 

You should also enter an electronic resume on these on-line services. 

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EARNINGS AND ADVANCEMENT 

Radiologic Technicians' wages vary by length of employment, level of training, geographic location, and the employer. 

Nationally, the annual salaries (mid 2009) of Radiologic Technicians who were employed by hospitals and related institutions were: 

OCCUPATION 

AVERAGE 

MIDDLE RANGE 

Radiologic Technician 

$47,900 

$42,900 - $52,500 

The median yearly earnings of "all" workers in the U.S. were $37,544 in 2008. 

In the federal government, new graduates of approved radiological technology programs started at $35,426 per year in 2009. The salaries of these federal government workers may be higher in some urban areas. 

In Michigan hospitals, annual salaries (mid 2009) of Radiologic Technicians were: 

AREA 

MIDDLE RANGE 

AVERAGE 

State-wide 

$42,862  - $51,664 

$47,156 

Southeast Michigan 

$44,860  - $51,356 

$48,305 

South West Michigan 

$45,009  - $53,301 

$49,601 

East Central 

$38,418  - $44,966 

$42,734 

Upper Peninsula 

$41,033  - $50,770 

$46,774 

In late 2008, X-Ray Technicians employed by the State of Michigan earned from $29,566 to $53,014 per year. Overtime duty or emergency calls may add to the Technician's salary. 

Students in radiologic training programs in hospitals may sometimes receive fringe benefits in the form of books and uniforms. Most Radiologic Technicians receive life and hospitalization insurance, paid vacations, uniforms, sick leave, and pension plans. Those in hospitals may also receive dental and/or optical insurance. 

Radiologic Technicians who have earned a bachelor's degree start at about the same pay as graduates from 2 and 3 year programs. The potential for promotion is best for Technicians who hold bachelor's degrees. Registered Technologists with additional specialized education would find advancement more rapidly than those without specialization. Advancement to radiologic specialist, radiologic instructor, or supervisor is possible. Advancement depends on experience, training, and ability. 
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EMPLOYMENT AND OUTLOOK 

Nationally, there were about 196,200 Radiologic Technicians employed in 2006. Employment in this occupation is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2016. Radiology is a dynamic field with vast potential and current as well as new uses of imaging equipment are virtually certain to increase demand for Technicians. The industry distribution for Radiologic Technicians looked like this: 

NAICS Code 

NAICS Industry Title 

% Employed 

622100 

General medical and surgical hospitals, private 

59.6 

621100 

Offices of physicians 

20.9 

621500 

Medical and diagnostic laboratories 

8.7 

561000 

Administrative and support services 

1.5 

-- 

Others 

9.3 

To find employers, click  Employer/Business Locator. 

Despite faster than average employment growth as radiation is increasingly used to diagnose and treat diseases, graduates of American Medical Association approved programs may face competition for choice positions. As outpatient utilization (visits and surgeries) continues to rise, employment opportunities should likewise increase in such outpatient facilities as well as in Health Maintenance Organizations. There is a shortage of Radiologic Technicians. Part-time workers will find the best opportunities in physicians' offices and clinics. 

There are approximately 6,175 Radiologic Technicians employed in Michigan. Most worked in urban areas. All were employed in the health services industry, primarily in hospitals. The remainder worked in medical laboratories, HMO's, clinics, and physicians' or dentists' offices.   

Employment of Radiologic Technicians in Michigan is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2016. An average of 150 annual openings is expected, with 70 due to growth and 80 to replace those who retire or leave the labor force for other reasons. Additional openings will occur as workers change jobs or occupations. 

Michigan's growing and aging population (which tends to require more diagnostic and therapeutic services), expansion of the kinds of facilities that provide radiologic services, and new uses of imaging equipment will result in the need for additional Radiologic Technicians. The steady decline in graduates of radiography programs in the past ten years, along with the increase in demand, has led to a current shortage of Radiologic Technicians. Technicians trained in nuclear medicine and radiation therapy will have the best opportunities, particularly because of the discovery of new medical uses for radioactive isotopes. 

MICHIGAN'S EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK TO 2016 

EMPLOYMENT

NUMBER

PERCENT

YEARLY JOB

REGION

EMPLOYED

GROWTH

OPENINGS

 

 

 

 

Michigan - State-wide

6,175

10.7

150

Ann Arbor Area

540

12.8

14

Battle Creek Area

115

12.2

3

Benton Harbor Area

145

11.1

4

Central Michigan

125

17.3

4

Detroit Area

2,570

7.3

54

East Central Michigan

90

13.0

2

Flint Area

290

10.8

7

Grand Rapids Area

550

18.3

18

Jackson Area

120

9.0

3

Kalamazoo Area

200

7.5

5

Lansing MSA

305

11.2

7

Muskegon Area

120

17.2

4

NorthEast Lower Peninsula

105

18.4

3

NorthWest Lower Peninsula

285

19.9

10

Saginaw Area

275

13.1

8

Thumb Area

70

18.6

2

Upper Peninsula

265

14.4

8

West Central Michigan

50

18.4

2

 

 

 

 

Note:  Areas may not add up to state-wide total due to rounding, sampling,

 statistical error or omission due to confidentiality issues.

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SOURCES OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

Michigan Society of Radiologic
Technologists
 

1485 Textile Road  
Ann Arbor, MI 48108                                                                      (734) 429-5675
 

 

American Medical Technologists 
10700 West Higgins Road
Suite 150               
Rosemont, IL 60018
(847) 823-5169
 

American Society of
Radiologic Technologists
 

15000 Central Avenue, S.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87123-3909
(505) 298-4500
 

 

American Registry of
Radiologic Technologists
 

1255 Northland Drive
St. Paul, MN 55120-1155
(651) 687-0048
 

Certification Board for Radiology
Practitioner Assistants
 
                                
225 Dupont Street                                              
P.O. Box 1626                                                
Lander, WY 82520                 
(307) 335-5201
 

 

American College of Radiology 
1891 Preston White Dr.                                    Reston, VA 20191               
(703) 648-8900
 

Federal, State and Local
Civil Service Offices
 

 

Hospitals, Clinics and
Physicians Offices
 

College Placement Offices 

Local Military Recruiters 

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 Copyright © 2009 Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth 

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