Before radiology technologists can practice professionally within their state, they need the proper education and clinical training for them to be eligible to receive certification from the American Registry of Radiology Technologists (ARRT). Their license allows them to maintain and operate radiology equipments that are used to capture clear images of internal body. These images are given to the supervising physician to help diagnose medical diseases and create a treatment plan. Radiology technologists prepare the patients for the procedure, give thorough explanation about the diagnostic imaging process, properly position the patients, keep and maintain patient records and evaluate radiology for equipment.
Radiology technologists must possess the proper education and clinical training for them to perform the complex responsibilities of a radiographer. There are many radiology schools to choose from but technologists must ensure that they enroll at a radiology technology program accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JCERT). Radiology technology schools are often vocational schools, community colleges or universities.
One of the advantages of being a radiology technologist is that they are not stuck with a dead end job. After certification, many radiographers who have worked for a few years often go back to school to pursue higher education or to obtain certification in one of the specialties in radiology technology. Most of those who have graduated with a two-year Associate’s degree go back to a four-year university to pursue their Bachelor’s degree in order to become an educator and to hold administrative or supervisory positions.
Through advanced coursework, years of experience and further training, radiographers may also become radiology specialists. There are some schools that offer one-year certificate programs or continuing education courses to radiographers who want to specialize in magnetic imaging resonance (MRI), CT scanning, angiography mammography, ultrasound radiology and fluoroscopies. Online or distance education schools are also offering courses for those who want to advance their career at their own pace and time.
After completing their continuing education courses or certificate programs, radiographers who want to practice their specialties should apply for certification from ARRT, if applicable. For instance, radiographers who want to specialize in CT scanning must meet the ARRT clinical experience requirements of 54 CT procedures in 9 categories such as head, neck, spine, chest, abdomen and pelvis. For radiographers seeking certification in mammography, performing 75 mammographic procedures to patients will fulfill their requirements for the ARRT mammography certification. Radiographers who are more experienced in these specialties have higher employment opportunities especially since employers are favorable to those who are able to multi-task.
Some radiographers also pursue career advancement by becoming a radiation therapist or a radiology assistant. Radiographers who want to be a radiology assistant will have to take additional education, fulfill clinical hours and get a certification. Radiation therapists use radiation treatment to their patients in order to target cancer cells in the body. Their nature of work requires them to have an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy. Radiographers who have finished their AA or BS degree in radiology would only need to complete a 12-month certification program in order to be eligible to be licensed as a radiation therapist in their state. The core courses in the radiation therapy program are radiation therapy procedures and scientific concepts.