Radiologic Technology / X-Ray Programs in USA and California
Radiology is the branch of medicine that uses radiation (x-rays) or other imaging technologies (such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) and other radioactive substances to diagnose and treat disease. It is a distinct field of medicine that uses ionizing and non ionizing radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Radiation therapy is a branch of radiology that is therapeutic. Radiation is given in two ways: Externally via external beam radiation, or increasingly through internal radiation known as Brachytherapy. A Radiographer makes sure that the radiation equipment delivers the exact amount of radiation to the treatment site.
A Radiologic Technologist (RT) is a healthcare professional who creates medical images of the body to help health care providers diagnose and treat illness and injury. Radiographers produce high-quality images of the body for doctors to diagnose injuries and diseases. For example: X-rays, Ultrasound or CT scans carried out in hospitals and outpatient clinics.
The term radiologic technologist is an all encompassing term relating to all the different physical therapy treatment within this allied health profession. Specifically, there are other titles used to describe the nature of the work, such as radiographer, sonographer, radiation therapist etc. The term "technician" is reserved for those who hold a limited x-ray license or repair the equipment and is not a term applied to the allied health profession known as Radiologic Technology.
Radiologic Technologist educational qualifications may include a diploma after secondary schooling or a three year to four year bachelor's degree and or master's degree. Formal training programs in radiography range in length from 2 to 4 years and lead to a certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree. There are both two-year associate degree programs and non degree certificate programs leading to equivalent certification.
Students interested in this career should expand on communication skills like writing and speech also they need to be good at subjects like biology, anatomy, physics, and chemistry as they serve as a background for the study of Radiologic technology.
There are accredited 2-year certificate programs, 2-year associate degree programs and a 4 year bachelors programs in Radiologic Technology. One needs to refer to the ASRT curriculum guide & JRCERT accreditation standards for the Gold standard educational process in the USA.
Employers typically prefer to hire certified radiographers, their credentials are accepted everywhere in the USA. Some states require a state license to practice but will not require a national license, although most states want both. Radiographers certified by the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) are expected to re-certify every two years. For recertification radiographers must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years and failure to do so may result in a radiologic technologist needing to re-take their ARRT board exam in order to be credentialed again.
While practicing as a radiologic technologist one can continue education in other modalities such as, mammography, CT, MRI, angiography, and become ARRT certified in these specializations. According to the ARRT survey the average annual earnings of a RT is about $58,500.