|2015 Median Pay||$58,960 per year / $28.35 per hour|
|Entry Level Education||Associate's degree|
|Number of Jobs, 2014||230,600|
|Job growth, 2014-24||20,700|
Nature of the Work
Radiologic technologists produce x-ray images (radiographs) of parts of the human body for use in diagnosing medical problems. They prepare patients for radiologic examinations by explaining the procedure, removing jewelry and other articles through which x-rays cannot pass, and positioning patients so that the parts of the body can be appropriately radiographed. To prevent unnecessary exposure to radiation, these workers surround the exposed area with radiation protection devices, such as lead shields, or limit the size of the x-ray beam. Radiologic technologists position radiographic equipment at the correct angle and height over the appropriate area of a patient’s body. Using instruments similar to a measuring tape, they may measure the thickness of the section to be radiographed and set controls on the x-ray machine to produce radiographs of the appropriate density, detail, and contrast.
They must follow physicians' orders precisely and conform to regulations concerning the use of radiation to protect themselves, their patients, and their coworkers from unnecessary exposure. In addition to preparing patients and operating equipment, radiologic technologists keep patient records and adjust and maintain equipment. They also may prepare work schedules, evaluate purchases of equipment, or manage a radiology department.
Physical stamina is important in this occupation because radiologic technologists are on their feet for long periods and may lift or turn disabled patients. They work at diagnostic machines but also may perform some procedures at patients’ bedsides. Some travel to patients in large vans equipped with sophisticated diagnostic equipment. Although radiation hazards exist in this occupation, they are minimized by the use of lead aprons, gloves, and other shielding devices, and by instruments monitoring exposure to radiation. Technologists wear badges measuring radiation levels in the radiation area, and detailed records are kept on their cumulative lifetime dose. Most full-time radiologic technologists work about 40 hours a week. They may, however, have evening, weekend, or on-call hours. Some work part-time for more than one employer; for those, travel to and from facilities must be considered.
Radiologic technologists held about 222,900 jobs nationally in 2014. About 61 percent of all jobs were in hospitals. Most other jobs were in offices of physicians; medical and diagnostic laboratories, including diagnostic imaging centers; and outpatient care centers. Employment of radiologic technologists is expected to increase by about 9% percent from 2014 to 2024.
The median annual wage nationally of radiologic technologists was $57,450 in May 2016. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,110 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $81,660.