Medical Imaging Revolutionizes Modern Medicine
Medical imaging is one of the most commonly performed medical procedures in the United States, with more than 300 million exams performed annually.
It has moved the beyond the black and white x-ray film to different types of medical imaging technologies such as digital imaging. Medical imaging is used for many things including measuring bone density, pinpointing brain tumors, diagnosing breast cancer and checking fetal health during pregnancy.
More than 275,000 registered radiologic technologists work in the United States, making them one of the largest groups of allied health professionals in the country. As medical imaging moves forward and the demand for medical imaging services increases, the R.T. profession continues to advance as well. Salaries have risen steadily during the past decade and now average $58,673 nationwide.
"The job outlook for radiologic technologists is very strong, driven by an aging patient population, greater demand for medical imaging tests, and advances in equipment and technology," said ASRT President Connie Mitchell, M.A., R.T.(CT).
R.T.s typically attend an accredited two-year associate degree program at a community college or technical school, or an accredited four-year bachelor's degree program at a university or college. R.T. students study anatomy, biology, radiation safety and physics. They also learn to use computers to acquire and manipulate images while working with some of the most technologically advanced equipment in the medical field. In addition, students learn communications and problem-solving skills so they can work with both patients other members of the health care team.
Recently, the new job title of radiology assistant was developed for advanced practice R.T.s who have obtained additional education and certification that qualify them to work as radiologist extenders. RAs, working under the supervision of radiologists, provide patient care in the diagnostic imaging environment including managing and assessing patients, performing selected radiology exams and procedures and evaluating images. Their goal is to improve patients' access to timely radiologic care by reducing the workloads of radiologists, increasing productivity and cutting costs.