How to Start a Career in Radiology

If you’re thinking of going into radiology, you’re making a solid choice. Consider that the average salary of a radiologist in the US is between $357,490 – 475,690, and you’ll know you can build a nice life for yourself.

Here, we’ll take a look at how to get started in the field of radiology. Let’s dive in.

The Basics

First, it’s important to understand that licensing in the radiology field is left up to each individual state. As of 2019, there’s no national licensing requirement that been implemented. That being said, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers registrations and certifications that are required in several states.

Beyond your basic certificate, as a technologist you’ll be able to specialize in a wide range of procedures such as:

  • Breast sonography
  • Bone densitometry
  • Mammography
  • Computer tomography
  • Vascular sonography

Experts expect that the demand for radiologic technologists will increase by 9% through the year 2024. This is a tick higher than the expected growth rate for other jobs during that time period, which is forecasted for around 7%.

It’s important to note that not all radiologic technologists follow identical paths to reach their goals. Some attend an accredited radiologic technologist program in a two-year school. Others choose the bachelor’s degree route. The highest paid make other educational stops along their journey.

That said, here are the basic steps that can lead you into a career as a radiologic technologist.

1. Graduate High School

Without a high school diploma, you’re not going to qualify to become a radiologic technologist. If you’re young and this is a career path that you know you want to pursue, pay close attention to mathematics and science courses while in high school. These will come in very useful down the road.

If you’re given the opportunity as a high school student, sign up to volunteer in a healthcare facility so you can get an idea of what your life will be like if you pursue this career path.

2. Go to an Accredited Undergrad Radiologic Technology Program

You’ll need to earn your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree (two or four-year program) in order to gain certification from the ARRT.

Since January 1, 2015, all ARRT applicants must be graduates of a school that is accredited by a body that ARRT recognizes. This includes the fields of:

  • Radiology
  • Sonography
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Keep in mind that if you earn your Bachelor’s degree it doesn’t necessarily make you any more qualified for ARRT certification. However, it could be useful when you begin looking at furthering your education, or when job searching.

3. Apply For ARRT Certification and Registration

As mentioned earlier, national licensing requirements don’t exist for radiologic technologists. Each state has its own processes.

When it’s time to maximize your employability and show your expertise, you’ll want to pursue ARRT certification. The process involves submitting your academic record, submitting a pre-application pertaining to ethics, and successfully passing an exam that “assesses the knowledge and cognitive skills underlying the intelligent performance of the tasks typically required of staff technologists practicing at entry-level within the discipline.”

If you’re looking to get into an entry-level position, you’ll need a certification in Radiology. After doing this job for some time, you may want to pursue a specialty certification in bone densitometry, mammography or cardiac-interventional radiology.

4. Maintain Your Certification

As a professional technologist, you’ll need to renew your certifications every year.

When renewing, you’ll be required to show that you’ve earned 24 credit hours during the year, or be awarded further certifications from ARRT in different specialties.

Begin Your Career in Radiology

A career in radiology is fulfilling and rewarding. Now that you know how to start, what’s to stop you from making it your career?

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