Described as “part science, part art” by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), radiologic technology is a popular choice for career changers for a variety of reasons:
- Most educational programs are only two years long
- Clinical rotations allow students to graduate with hands-on experience (and make valuable connections)
- A variety of specializations exist (such as MRI, sonography, and radiation therapy)
- The job outlook is positive with 9% growth projected between 2014 and 2024 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Entry-level salaries are quite generous (average of $41K/year according to PayScale, Inc.)
If you’re considering a second career in radiologic technology, make sure you possess these core qualifications before embarking on your journey:
- Technical Acumen: You’ll have the opportunity to use state-of-the-art imaging equipment and systems and be on the cutting edge of healthcare technology. You don’t have to be a former IT pro to successfully enter this new field, but technology certainly shouldn’t intimidate you.
- People Skills: In addition to working with computers, machines, and instruments on a daily basis, you will interact directly with patients who are likely nervous or scared, so a gentle demeanor and the ability to demonstrate genuine empathy are essential in this field. A background in customer service will greatly benefit your career change into radiologic technology, and maturity in general will be appealing to hiring managers too.
- Attention to Detail: Accurate diagnoses are dependent upon the images you produce as a radiologic technologist, so an “eagle eye” and commitment to quality are key. This is also true for radiation therapists administering treatments for cancer and other diseases. Have a reputation for producing flawless work? Channel that dedication and you’ll do well.
- Flexibility/Adaptability: Patient care professionals are needed 24/7/365, work with diverse personalities (patients and colleagues included), and must be able to think on their feet (often literally). If you treasure your current 9 to 5 schedule and expect to have holidays and weekends off, becoming a radiologic technologist may not be for you.
- Desire for Learning: Continuing education (CE) isn’t just encouraged in radiologic technology; it’s required to maintain your American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) credentials either through approved CE activities or the achievement of additional certifications/registrations. As mentioned above, you’ll be right in the middle of the ever-evolving world of healthcare technology. Keeping up will be challenging but also exciting for those committed to the field and their personal success.
If the above traits describe you, learn more from the ASRT career guide and check out ARRT-recognized educational programs to take the next step in your new career.
A-B Tech Community College – Points to Think About When Considering a Career in Radiography
Cindy Mehallow – Second-Career Rad Techs
ASRT – Explore Careers in Radiologic Technology