Radiology Careers: 9 Different Job Types (And Required Skills)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated November 10, 2021 | Published February 8, 2021
Updated November 10, 2021
Published February 8, 2021
Radiology is one of the many fields you can choose to focus on when deciding on a career in the medical industry. There are a variety of positions you can pursue with an education in radiology. In this article, we discuss what radiology is, how you can start your career in radiology and some of the jobs you can apply for after graduation.
What is radiology?
Radiology is the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and medical issues using specialized equipment, such as X-rays, MRI machines and ultrasounds. Many different hospital departments, other healthcare facilities and medical fields use the science of radiology in their daily practices.
Skills required for a job in radiology
When working in radiology, essential skills to do well include:
Scientific knowledge: Having the appropriate scientific knowledge of radiation and how to interact with it is a very important skill to have for a job in radiology. Knowing how to properly use radiological technology and understanding the risks involved can help you and your patients stay safe. It can also help you perform your duties to the best of your ability.
Medical understanding: Knowing how radiation can positively or negatively impact patients is another important skill to have for anyone working in radiology. It can help you diagnose your patients with better accuracy and also help you treat and prevent a wide variety of diseases.
Patient communication: Being able to communicate well with patients is also a crucial skill to have for anyone working in radiology. Whether you need to deliver bad news, inform a patient about a complicated medical term or try to understand what ailments a patient is experiencing, communication is an important skill to maintain for the job.
How to get a job in radiology
Here are a few steps you can follow to help you prepare for and find a job in radiology:
1. Decide on your end goal
There are a variety of jobs that you can find in radiology that all require a different type of degree. If you're hoping to work in radiology, it can be helpful to know what specific career you want to pursue. For example, if you want to be a radiological technologist, the minimum education required is an associate degree. However, if you want to become a radiologist, the minimum education required is a doctorate.
2. Earn your undergraduate degree
Once you've decided on your final career, the next step is to earn your undergraduate degree. Although for some jobs the only education required is an associate degree, consider pursuing a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree can help you and your resume become more noticeable to potential employers and might help you secure a job more easily.
The type of degree you want to pursue will depend on the type of job you want to apply for after graduation. For example, to become a radiology nurse a good degree to earn is a bachelor's of science in nursing. However, to become a radiologic technician, you might want to pursue an associate or bachelor's degree in radiology.
3. Receive your certifications
After earning your undergraduate degree, it's important to receive all the certifications necessary to work in your field. For example, if you want to work as a radiology assistant, after receiving your bachelor's degree you will need both a state license and a certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
It can be helpful to research which career you're most interested in and what certifications those careers require. This can help you become more prepared for your industry and the training that's necessary to pursue a job in radiology.
4. Find the job that's right for you
It can be very exciting to know which career you're pursuing and to find a job right after graduation. However, if you're still pursuing your final career, like becoming a radiologist or radiology nurse, it can be helpful to decide which job opportunity can provide you with the best work experience and training for the next step in your career journey.
For example, if you want to apply to medical school, it might be beneficial to find a job working in a hospital or working with patients.
5. Consider further education
Lastly, it might be beneficial for you to consider pursuing higher education. Even if your job only requires a bachelor's degree, studying in a master's program can provide you with further training, education and experience that can help you perform your job even better. It might also help you earn a promotion or a higher salary.
Radiology job types
Here are different jobs you can find in the field of radiology:
National average salary: $26.61 per hour
Primary duties: A radiologic technologist or technician performs X-rays and other diagnostic imaging tests to help doctors provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for ailments. Radiologic technologists will scan or X-ray patients and read, review and record the results, then present the information to doctors and physicians.
Read more: Learn About Being a Radiologic Technologist
National average salary: $36.81 per hour
Primary duties: A nuclear medicine technologist uses and administers special radioactive drugs to patients that they can then track through nuclear imaging tests. These tests and drugs can help detect ailments and illnesses in patients' organs, such as the brain, liver and heart.
National average salary: $36.95 per hour
Primary duties: An MRI technician or technologist is someone who is trained in operating and understanding the results of an MRI machine. An MRI technician helps patients through the testing process, reviews their test results and relays the information to the patient's doctor or physician.
Read more: Learn About Being an MRI Technician
National average salary: $38.28 per hour
Primary duties: An ultrasound technician, or ultrasonographer, is a medical professional who specializes in operating ultrasounds and other high-frequency imaging equipment. They use the ultrasound to perform tests on patients to help doctors discover issues and conditions. An ultrasound technician also uses their skills and equipment to help make sure the babies of pregnant women are healthy and forming safely.
Read more: Learn About Being an Ultrasound Technician
National average salary: $2,006 per month
Primary duties: A cardiovascular technician works directly under a cardiologist or radiologist and helps provide care and diagnosis to cardio and vascular health-related diseases. Using specialized imaging technology, the cardiovascular technician tests patients' cardiovascular systems and delivers the results to their primary care physician.
National average salary: $42,970 per year
Primary duties: A radiology specialist is a radiologic technician who focuses their training and education on a certain practice. A radiology specialist might decide to specialize in mammography, CT scanning or X-ray scanning. This allows the radiology specialist to provide more detailed information and can help them perform better in their field.
National average salary: $59,471 per year
Primary duties: A radiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in finding and treating illnesses using imaging technology. A radiologist often works with radiologic technicians who assist them in their work and treatment of patients.
Read more: Learn About Being a Radiologist
National average salary: $74,719 per year
Primary duties: A radiation therapist is someone who specializes in treating patients by administering radiation. These medical professionals most often work with cancer patients and their chemotherapy treatments.
Read more: Learn About Being a Radiation Therapist
National average salary: $84,239 per year
Primary duties: A radiology manager or administrator is someone who oversees the many radiology departments and technicians of a hospital or healthcare facility. They create staff schedules, train employees and ensure that the hospital's healthcare practice follows medical laws and policies.
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