Diagnostic Imaging Salary Information and Job Duties
There are various types of imaging technologies used to diagnose ailments including MRI, X-ray, CT, ultrasound and nuclear medicine scans. Prospective technicians will need to complete a 1-year certificate, 2-year associate degree or 4-year bachelor's degree program.
When a patient has developed a medical issue or has suffered an internal injury, doctors often rely on medical technicians and the assistance of diagnostic imaging procedures. Using specialized equipment and machines, professionals take pictures of the human body to look for abnormalities that can be diagnosed and treated. Once the images have been clearly captured, a diagnostic imaging professional passes the photos on to a doctor who will diagnose the issue and begin treatment if necessary.
Diagnostic imaging professionals are responsible for completing a variety of daily duties including:
- Operating specialized equipment to photograph different areas of the human body
- Communicating with patients about procedures, results and treatment options
- Maintaining, cleaning and adjusting equipment between patient visits
- Keeping accurate and confidential patient records
- Providing medical doctors with clear photos to ensure proper diagnosis
- Preparing reports, analyzing data and using computer programs as needed
In order to land a job in the field of diagnostic imagery, students will need to earn either a certificate, a 2-year degree or 4-year degree from an accredited institution. Required courses include:
- Introduction to health sciences
- Radiographic science principles
- Sonographic instrumentation
- Anatomy and physiology
- Basic patient care skills
- Cardiovascular concepts
- Pathology of medical/surgical procedures
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average yearly salary for diagnostic medical sonographers was around $66,000 in 2012, and job opportunities are expected to increase 44% from 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). Although there are generally not any certification or licensing requirements, employers prefer that applicants earn certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists prior to seeking employment. Professionals generally work in hospitals, doctors offices, diagnostic centers and outpatient care facilities.
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