Radiology careers

Radiology Careers: What Is Radiology & Possible Career Paths

There are various career paths in the radiology field including radiologic technologists. In this article, we will discuss several career options for radiology majors, their salaries and radiologic technology schools.

What Is Radiology?
Radiology Career Options
What Is a Radiologic Technologist?
What Is a Radiologist Assistant?
What is a Radiologist?
Your GMercyU Path to a Career in Radiology

What Is Radiology?

Radiology is the study and practice of using radiological equipment to diagnose diseases. If you're looking for a career in the treatment of  diseases, those fields include radiation therapy and oncology.
 

Radiology Career Options

Radiology is a branch of medicine that involves the use of medical imaging technology to diagnose diseases and injuries. Some radiology career options include:

  • Radiologist
  • Radiologic technologist
  • Radiology nurse
  • Radiologist assistant

What Is a Radiologic Technologist?

A radiologic technologist is a healthcare professional who uses sophisticated equipment and computers to take images of patients’ bodies to help radiologists diagnose diseases and conditions. Radiologic technologists are part of a larger team of medical professionals who work together to diagnose patients. They are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "radiologic technicians."

Radiologic Technologist Job Description

So, what does a radiologic technologist do? A radiologic technologist prepares patients for and takes radiographic images of the body that help radiologists diagnose problems and determine the correct course of treatment. Radiologic technologists produce x-ray images to diagnose breaks and fractures in bones, abnormalities in body systems, use low-dose x-ray systems to conduct mammograms, and create cross-sectional images of patients’ bodies using CT scans and more. 

Radiologic Technologist Education Requirements

Generally, you’ll need to earn at least an associate's degree in Radiologic Technology, although a bachelor’s degree could help you stand out among a pool of applicants. After completing an educational program approved by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), you’ll be eligible to sit for the certification exam.

The ARRT certification and registration is different from state licensure. You should learn more about the requirements in the state in which you choose to work.

Additional education and experience for some advanced modalities (i.e. CT, MRI, mammography) may be required. The registered radiologic technologist usually needs to sit for additional advanced modality ARRT registry exams in order to work in these areas. The additional education and experience are required to sit for these exams. Full-time and part time courses are offered nationwide for advanced modalities. No advanced degree is required. Information can be found at www.arrt.org.

Ultrasound (sonography) and nuclear medicine are other imaging modalities requiring separate education and clinical experience either after becoming a Registered Radiologic Technologist or as stand-alone programs. MRI also fits into this category, although most MRI technologists are first Registered Radiologic Technologists. 

Radiologic Technologist Salary Information

According to a report from American Society of Radiologic Technologists in 2019, the mean annual full-time compensation for radiologic technologists across the nation was $69,266.

Learn more about the various specializations within radiologic technology at www.asrt.org.
 

What Is a Radiologist Assistant?

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists defines radiologist assistants as "experienced, registered radiographers who have obtained additional education and certification that qualifies them to serve as radiologist extenders."


Radiologist Assistant Job Description

So, what does a radiologist assistant do? According to the ASRT, radiologist assistants work under the supervision of a radiologist to provide advanced patient care, perform imaging examinations, and communicate initial observations to the supervising radiologist.

Radiologist Assistant Education Requirements

To achieve certification as a radiologist assistant, you’ll need to first earn your bachelor’s degree. Your educational program should be ARRT-approved and include clinical experiences under the guidance of a radiologist. Once you earn your bachelor’s degree, you will be eligible to sit for the certification exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, you will become a registered radiologist assistant (RRA). You can find more information at arrt.org.

Radiologist Assistant Salary Information

According to a report from American Society of Radiologic Technologists in 2019, the mean annual full-time compensation for radiologist assistants across the nation was $108,494.
 

What Is a Radiologist?

So, what does a radiologist do?  Radiologists are physicians who specialize in analyzing medical images to diagnose and treat illnesses. Radiologists review diagnostic images, including ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). Radiologists may also perform a wide array of interventional procedures. 

Radiologist Job Description

Radiologists do more than just read x-rays for broken bones; they can specialize in mammography, cardiovascular radiology, gastrointestinal radiology, musculoskeletal radiology, or oncology. Radiologists work as part of a team of health professionals that includes radiologic technologists, cardiovascular technologists, MRI technicians, and ultrasound technicians. 

Radiologist Education Requirements

Radiologists are physicians, so you’ll need to become a medical doctor before becoming a radiologist. After earning your bachelor’s degree, you should enroll in medical school. After you pass your medical licensing exams, you’ll complete a residency in radiology. Once your residency is complete, you’ll sit for your certification exams, offered through the American Board of Radiology. In total, you should expect to spend at least 10 years in school before becoming a certified radiologist.

Radiologist Salary Information

According to a survey by Medscape in 2021, radiologists made an average of $413,000 in full-time pay.



Your GMercyU Path to a Career in Radiology

Gwynedd Mercy University offers a 2+2 bachelor’s degree program in radiologic technology. During the first two years of the program, you’ll complete general education requirements, including science, math, and medical terminology, and then go on to apply to an affiliate radiologic technologist program. Once you successfully complete your GMercyU and affiliate radiography program requirements, you’ll be eligible to sit for the National American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Examination in Radiography. Graduates of GMercyU's radiology program passed this exam with a 100% success rate in 2019 and 2020.  Start your journey today! 

If becoming a radiologist is your dream, you could earn your bachelor’s degree at GMercyU in a field such as biology before going on to earn your doctoral degree. Graduates of GMercyU’s biology program have gone on to study medicine at schools across the country.