A radiographer, or radiologic technologist, is a healthcare professional who provides an essential service for the diagnosis and treatment of injury and disease. A radiographer administers radiation in the form of x-rays to create images (radiographs) of the human body for use in diagnosing medical conditions.To practice as a radiographer in the state of Ohio, the graduate must successfully pass the national registry certification examination from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). In addition, the state of Ohio requires registered radiographers to possess a radiologic license from the Ohio Department of Health.
Some radiologic technologists specialize in advanced diagnostic imaging technologies such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Because they are often dealing with people in physical and/or emotional pain, radiologic technologists must be sensitive to the needs of their patients. In addition, they must be detail-oriented team players and able to follow doctors’ directions explicitly. Documentation and maintenance of patients' records is also a requirement of the radiologic technologist profession. Operating complicated equipment requires mechanical ability and manual dexterity, while long periods of standing and lifting patients requires physical stamina.
Radiologic technologists may work full or part time. Since hospitals are open 24 hours, weekend and evening hours are sometimes required. Potential radiation hazards exist in this field however, protective equipment such as lead gloves and aprons and other shielding devices, minimize exposure. In addition, technologists wear badges that measure radiation levels in their work area. Detailed records are kept on their cumulative lifetime radiation doses.
Opportunities and Salary
An increasingly aging population requiring diagnostic services should spur job growth for radiographers, predicts the federal government. In fact, some employers are already reporting shortages of qualified technologists. Those with additional credentials, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR), or with multiple skills, will find more job opportunities available to them.
Radiologic technology may be attractive to those seeking flexibility in their work schedules. 20 percent of the 275,000 technologists employed in 2008 worked part time. Hospitals should remain the chief employer of technologists; however, more physicians’ offices and clinics, including diagnostic imaging centers, are expected to employ greater numbers of technologists.
The ASRT Wage and Salary Survey 2010, conducted by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and the ASRT Education and Research Foundation, shows that Radiologic Technologists nationwide earn an average annual pay of $53,953. In the Cleveland Clinic Health System, new graduates start at an average annual pay of $39,000.
State law requires that all radiographers who work in the state of Ohio obtain a Radiologic License from the State of Ohio Department of Health. Radiology students who are in their second year of the program also have the opportunity to take the Ohio General X-Ray Machine Operator license exam and obtain their GXMO license. With this license the student may be able to work in a limited capacity at select radiography departments while still in the program.
After graduation from an accredited radiography program, students are eligible to take the ARRT registry exam. Upon successfully passing the exam, they are eligible to apply for a Radiographic Licensure through the State of Ohio Department of Health.
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