Radiographers are highly skilled technologists who play an essential role in the delivery of modern medical care. They operate the sophisticated machines that produce X rays of patients’ internal body parts and broken bones. Basically, radiographers help physicians get important information about a patient’s injury or disease. Most radiographers work in hospitals or in specialty facilities such as orthopedic offices.
Could radiography be the right profession for you?
If you’re drawn to the healthcare field and are seeking an emotionally rewarding career that offers financial stability, maybe radiography is a good choice. Let’s look at some of the advantages:
1. You can qualify in two years.
The typical educational path is an associate’s degree in science at a college accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Students earn 36 credits in radiography and 36 credits in general education courses such as biology, algebra and human anatomy. Graduates must then pass an exam to earn their R.T.(R) certification—this stands for registered Radiologic Technologist in Radiography.
2. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to fast track your certification.
If you earned a BS or BA degree from another, accredited institution, and your course work included general education, science and math courses, you can get credit for these courses as long as you earned a grade of C or better.
3. The chances of landing a radiography job soon after certification are excellent.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, jobs for radiographers and other radiologic technologists are projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022—faster than the average for all occupations. This is due, in part, to the aging of the baby boomers. Experts believe there will be an increase in medical conditions—like bone fractures due to osteoporosis—that will require X rays.
At St. Vincent’s College, graduates of the radiography program have enjoyed a 100% placement rate. St. Vincent’s doesn’t guarantee positions, but the teaching staff there does provide one-on-one guidance to help their grads make the right connections.
4. You may be able to get tuition assistance.
Students who are already working at a healthcare facility may be able to get financial aid from their employer. Students may also qualify for federal aid.
At St. Vincent’s College, students have occasionally been able to get part-time jobs as radiography aides at St. Vincent’s Medical Center and other locations. In these situations, the employer has contributed to the tuition costs.
5. You can earn a stable income.
The median annual income for radiographers in 2012 was $55,630. Your salary will depend on your geographic location. Radiographers working in major metropolitan areas earn more than those working in smaller communities.
6. You will have opportunities to grow your income.
You can increase your earnings potential by returning to college to earn your BS and certification in one or more radiologic specialty such as nuclear medicine, mammography or radiation therapy. Specialty hospitals, where the median annual salary is $62,580, tend to offer the highest salaries.
7. You will be active and won’t have to sit at a desk all day.
If you like to be constantly on the move, this profession is a good fit for you. Most people who go into radiography are attracted by the idea that they won’t be glued to a chair for hours at a time. Sure, the work requires stamina, but for them, this is a big plus.
8. You get to work with state-of-the art medical equipment that helps people.
You will be on the cutting edge of new developments in medical technology. But there will also be an important caring component to your work. Radiographers are like a bridge between the patient and the machine. They offer a special combination of empathy and high tech skills. If you are excited by the idea of operating sophisticated computers that can “see” into the inner workings of the human body—and you want to help people, then maybe radiography is a good choice for you.
Want to learn more? Come to St. Vincent’s College Radiography Open House in Stamford, CT, on April 11, 2015 from 9 AM to 12 PM. Register here.