5 Essential Traits for a Successful Career Change into Radiologic Technology
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.)
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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.
May 02, 2016
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