Diagnostic Radiology Education Requirements and Career Options

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a diagnostic radiology technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Diagnostic radiology technicians take x-rays of various parts of patients' bodies to determine whether the patient is ill or injured. Except in very special cases, diagnostic radiology technicians must have at least two years of college and may require licensure depending on the state in which they are to practice.

Required Education An associate's or bachelor's degree in diagnostic radiology or radiologic technology
Projected Job Growth 21% from 2012 - 2022*
Median Annual Salary (May, 2012) $54,620*

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Diagnostic Radiology Technician Career Profile

A diagnostic radiology technician, also known as a radiographer, is responsible for using an x-ray machine to create images of the inside of a patient's body. From diagnosing respiratory diseases to finding breaks in patients' bones, diagnostic radiology technology has a wide range of applications in the health care industry.

Diagnostic radiology technicians begin a session by consulting with a physician to determine what area of a patient's body needs to be imaged. They then prepare the machinery and insure that it is in proper working order before positioning a patient correctly to take an image of the required area of the body. Lead shields are draped around the patient's body to insure that excess radiation is absorbed properly. The technician then cycles the machine, sending x-rays through the patient's body onto a special surface designed to be sensitive to radiation, creating a picture of the patient's internal organs.

Proper safety precautions must be taken, and diagnostic radiology technicians must keep a record of their lifetime exposure to radiation to insure that they do not overexpose themselves or their co-workers. Patients, too, must be carefully protected from the harmful effects of excess radiation.

Education Requirements

Those who wish to be diagnostic radiology technicians must have a high school education or GED equivalent in order to advance to a training program. Certificate programs, associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees are all available for diagnostic radiology technicians, but all degree programs must be certified by the Joint Review Committee on Education of Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). After an education program is completed, the graduate must take an examination from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, which is a standard examination for those who wish to practice radiology in the United States.

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