Radiology careers

Radiology Careers: What is Radiology & Possible Career Paths

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

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

What is Radiology?

Radiology is the study and practice of using radiological equipment and treatment to diagnose and treat diseases. In order to pursue a career in radiology, you must complete an associates, bachelor's or master's degree depending on the type radiology profession you wish to practice.

Radiology Career Options

Radiology is a branch of medicine that involves the use of medical imaging technology to diagnose and treat diseases and injuries. Radiology career options can range from being a radiologist, which is a medical doctor, to being a radiology technician who provides radiology services support. Some radiology career options are:

  • Radiologist
  • Radiologic technologist
  • Radiology technician
  • Radiology nurse
  • Radiology assistant

What is a Radiologist?

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

Job Description: A licensed physician who specializes in mammography, x-ray, ultrasounds, MRI and CT scans.
Educational Requirements: Doctorate
Relevant Certifications: State License, Board Certificate, Complete Residency Program
Average Salary: $208,000
Expected Job Growth (2014-2024): 14%

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. As technology improves and medical imaging can be used for quicker and less invasive diagnostics, the need for radiologists will increase by 14% in the next few years.

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

The Bureau of Labor Statistics includes radiologists among physicians and surgeons. The 2017 median annual salary of physicians and surgeons was $208,000.


What is a Radiologic Technologist?

A Radiologic Technologist is a medical professional who uses sophisticated equipment and computers to take images of patients’ bodies to help radiologists diagnose diseases and conditions. Unlike radiologic technicians, radiologic technologists can also interpret results to further aid radiologists. Radiologic technologists are part of a larger team of medical professionals who work together to diagnose and treat patients.

Job Description: Operating medical imaging equipment and analyze test results
Educational Requirements: Associates Degree
Relevant Certifications: State License, ARRT Certification
Average Salary: $60,070
Expected Job Growth (2014-2024): 13%

Radiologic Technologist Job Description

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

Radiologic Technologist Education Requirements

Generally, you’ll need to earn at least an associates 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 licensure 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.

Radiologic Technologist Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2017 national median salary for Radiologic Technologists was $60,070.


What is a Radiology Technician?

Not to be confused with a radiologic technologist, a radiologic technician primarily produces x-rays for diagnostic purposes. Radiologic technicians primarily work in hospitals and diagnostic imaging centers.

Job Description: Operating medical imaging equipment
Educational Requirements: Associates Degree
Relevant Certifications: State License, ARRT Certification
Average Salary: $66,867
Expected Job Growth (2014-2024): 14%

Radiologic Technician Job Description

So, what does a radiologic technician do? If you’ve ever been to the emergency room with a broken bone, it was probably a radiologic technician who explained the x-ray procedure to you, made sure all of your jewelry was removed, positioned you, and then took the x-ray. Radiologic technicians also maintain the x-ray machines and patient records.

Radiologic Technician Education Requirements

Radiologic technicians generally have fewer years of education than radiologic technologists, though you’ll still need to meet some minimum requirements. Often, radiologic technicians hold associates degrees in radiology. You should make sure your desired program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). You also have the opportunity to achieve certification through the ARRT, provided your educational program is also ARRT approved.

Radiologic Technician Salary Information

The Bureau of Labor Statistics includes radiologic technician salary information with the radiologic technician information. The annual salary of radiologic technicians in 2018 was $66,867.


What is a Radiology Nurse?

A radiology nurse is a specialized nurse who prepares patients for procedures such as x-rays and MRIs, answers any questions they have, and monitors them during and after the procedure.

Job Description: Radiology treatment
Educational Requirements: Bachelor's Degree
Relevant Certifications: NCLEX Certification, CRN
Average Salary: $70,000
Expected Job Growth (2014-2024): 14%

Radiology Nurse Job Description

So, what does a radiology nurse do? Mostly they work in hospitals or diagnostic imaging centers, where they counsel patients and their families, administer IVs and medication, and monitor outcomes.

Radiology Nurse Education Requirements

Before becoming a radiology nurse, you’ll need to complete an education program and achieve your NCLEX certification. To earn this certification, you’ll need to pass a standardized test given by the state board of nursing to ensure you are prepared to begin a career in nursing. In some cases, an associates degree is enough, but more employers today are encouraging their nurses to earn at least a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) degree. After you pass your NCLEX exams, you should gain experience working as a nurse before sitting for the Certified Radiology Nurse (CRN) exam.

Radiology Nurse Salary Information

Registered nurses earn a national median salary of $70,000 per year, according to the BLS.


What is a Radiology Assistant?

A radiology assistant is a registered radiographer who has additional education and certification. Radiology assistants perform radiology exams under the supervision of the radiologist, as well as counsel patients and their families, evaluate images, and make initial observations.

Job Description: Assist radiologists, operate medical imaging equipment
Educational Requirements: Bachelor's Degree
Relevant Certifications: State License, ARRT Certification
Average Salary: $81,951
Expected Job Growth (2014-2024): 13%

Radiology Assistant Job Description

So, what does a radiology assistant do? Radiology assistants prepare patients for procedures by explaining what to expect and advocate on their behalf. The radiology assistant might also be tasked with performing various procedures and evaluating the quality of selected images.

Radiology 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).

Radiology Assistant Salary Information

The Bureau of Labor Statistics includes radiology assistant salary information with the radiologic technician information. In 2018, the annual salary of radiologic technicians was $81,951.

 

Radiology Job Description and Salary Comparison

In the radiology field, there are various types of jobs you can pursue. Depending on the skills involved, each radiology job has different educational requirements and average salary information. In the chart below, you will find comparisons of radiology jobs to determine what career might interest you the most.
 

Job Title Job Description Education Requirements Salary Information
Radiologist
A licensed physician who specializes in mammography, x-ray, ultrasounds, MRI and CT scans.
Doctorate Degree $208,000
Radiologic Technologist Operating medical imaging equipment and analyze test results Associates Degree or Bachelor's Degree $60,070
Radiology Technician Operating medical imaging equipment Associates Degree or Bachelor's Degree $66,867
Radiology Nurse Radiology treatment Bachelor's Degree $70,000
Radiology Assistant Assist radiologists, analyze data and test results Bachelor's Degree $58,960


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, and then go on to apply to an affiliate radiologic technologist program. After four years, you’ll be eligible to sit for the ARRT certification exam. In fact, graduates of our program have a 95.83% pass rate on this exam over the past four years.

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 such as Drexel University and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. For the past 11  years, GMercyU biology graduates have scored above the national average on the ETS Major Field Test in the areas of cell biology and molecular biology and genetics, making a degree from GMercyU a good first step to preparing for the rigorous coursework in medical school.