Radiology Technician Schools
Are you thinking of getting started in the field of radiography? Radiography professionals fill a vital role in the detection and diagnosis of diseases, cancers and other patient injuries, and can help treat illnesses as well. Radiographers can also assist surgeons and other physicians to minimize the risks of surgery by providing detailed, internal images of the patient's body during the surgery.
Radiography opportunities are available for people with a wide variety of skill sets and education levels. Radiography careers often include working with one the following:
- X-ray machines
- Large diagnostic machines
- Intravenous radioactive medicine
- Radiation in the form of therapy
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The field of radiography spans a variety of different occupations, including the following:
- X-ray technicians/Radiologic technologists: The term "X-ray technician" is outdated but still persists, although these professionals are now called radiologic technologists or radiographers. These technologists use X-ray machines for purposes such as locating broken bones, isolating tumors in the lungs, observing the GI tract or identifying possible problems with a patient's vascular system. In the 1970s, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanners were created as a replacement for the common radiograph to give detailed three-dimensional views of a patient's body. The MRI machine uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create the images, while CT scanners produce hundreds of thin X-ray "slices" as the patient moves through the machine.
- Nuclear medicine technologists: Sometimes, a diagnostic scan does not reveal the issue, or the cause of the issue. In some cases, a radioactive substance needs to be administered during a scan. In these instances, nuclear medicine technologists prepare radioactive mixtures for the patient to assist with the diagnostic imaging.
- Radiation therapists: These professionals use radiation to treat cancer or other diseases. The radiation-emitting machines can be based on X-rays or a radioactive isotope of cobalt. Medical linear accelerators use high-energy X-rays, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012). Radiation therapists are also a member of an oncology team, which help treat cancer in patients.
While some radiographic technologist positions are available for individuals without a degree, many positions may require an associate or a bachelor's degree in addition to the completion of a certification program. Some states require operating radiographers to be licensed, the BLS reports. Check with your state to determine your licensure requirements, as regulations vary by state.
When you request information from radiology schools, be sure to get the specifics about their radiography programs to make sure they are aligned with your career goals. You may also have an opportunity to ask about tuition costs, how their facilities rate compared to other radiologic technologist schools, and financial aid options for those who qualify. You can check out our radiology schools FAQ section below for commonly asked questions about how to obtain information, what to ask, and more.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Radiologic Technologists - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Radiation Therapists - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiation-therapists.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Nuclear Medicine Technologists - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nuclear-medicine-technologists.htm
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, Radiographer - https://www.arrt.org/Certification/Radiographer