In today’s turbulent job market, bright-eyed students crave the promise of security and expansion in the careers they consider. While predictions of market climates should always be taken with a grain of salt, the anticipation of growth in the field of radiology is well grounded. This article will paint a picture of what a position in the field of radiology could look like and will also define some of the reasons the radiology field expects healthy growth in the coming years.
Becoming a Radiographer
While the term “radiologist” refers to a fully licensed physician who has completed the equivalent of an M.D. or more, it is possible for a “radiographer” to complete all certifications necessary (specific requirements for employment vary by state) for employment in a much shorter time. A radiographer may be able to complete all necessary training in as little as two to three years after high school.
The paths that can produce a certified radiographer are varied and flexible. For example, in order to qualify for the initial certification examinations facilitated by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), one of the largest certification associations in the country, one must have completed the equivalent of an associate degree. In addition, programs that train radiographers are often abundantly available and can be completed at universities, community colleges, hospitals, and other education providers. With a little research, most students will probably be surprised at how close and accessible a radiology training location might be.
A Day In the Life of a Radiographer
Radiographers, one of many employment options within the field of radiology, are primarily responsible for operating x-ray equipment to produce high quality diagnostic images to aid in the diagnosis of various patient conditions. Once a new radiographer has received all necessary certifications, they can find employment at a wide range of settings including hospitals, imaging centers, outpatient clinics, mobile x-ray companies, and more. Job descriptions could vary widely from role to role. A large range of job types are available to suit any radiographer’s preference including positions that entail spending a lot of time with patients, to positions that involve image curation or those that require frequent interaction with an attending physician.
Why Choose Radiography?
Several observable trends in the United States indicate favorable prospects for the radiology field in the coming years. The first is our aging population. As the median age in the United States increases as projected, it will boost the demand for medical technologies and services. The use of radiologic imaging will only rise as more patients seek treatment for various ailments. The second trend is revealed by the advancing nature of the radiology field. New technologies are plentiful and the field is developing at a rapid pace. Because of this attention and focused development, the chances are high that new treatments will further solidify its value to the healthcare community. Based on these trends, the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a nine percent growth in the radiology job market between 2014 and 2024, higher than the average growth predicted across job markets nationwide.
In addition to the anticipated job security of the field, choosing a radiographer’s profession guarantees a few other appealing perks. The relatively short amount of training required allows students to complete their certifications and enter the workforce much quicker than other healthcare professions. The abundance of specializations available in radiology, including (but not limited to) magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, mammography, angiography, nuclear medicine, and more, allow a radiographer to not only tailor their job preferences and pursue particular interests within the field, but to increase their pay rate and job prospects by completing additional trainings and certifications. Finally, the pay scale available to radiographers and similar positions within the field of radiology can be lucrative. The median incomes as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for May 2015 for radiographers and technologists ranged from $51,000 to more than $68,000 across a variety of radiology positions and job types.
Those who choose to become a radiographer will discover a world of possibility that extends across not only job type and security, but a wide range of varieties that make it possible to craft an ideal job. Whether operating scientific equipment, conducting research, interacting with patients, or managing an imaging department, radiology offers something for everyone. The field of radiology shows signs of robust growth and advancement in the coming years and will provide ample prospects for anyone looking for a promising career.
The Adventist University of Health Sciences Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences online degree offers working imaging professionals an expanded opportunity to learn the technical, medical and people skills to help them continue their professional growth. Whether your goal is to provide a higher level of patient care or to advance your career by moving into management, education, consulting, or industry, the place to begin is with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences degree.