Radiology technicians, often called “rad techs” for short, work at the center of key diagnostic imaging examination efforts. These terms are also interchangeable with “radiologic technician,” “radiographer,” “RT,” and “radiology technologist.” There’s high demand for healthcare pros to work in this category of careers, which can include CT techs, X-ray techs, MRI techs, and other radiology sub-categories. Due to this consistent and growing demand, there are many well-paying rad tech jobs in various locations nationwide. If you’re a current or aspiring radiology technician, read on to learn more and explore nationwide job opportunities that could kickstart your exciting new career as a travel rad tech.
Career as a Rad Tech
When you choose a career as a travel rad tech, it’s much easier for you to avoid burnout while still sharing your important skills and talents with facilities nationwide that need your help now more than ever due to the healthcare staffing shortage. With numerous locations and facilities you can choose from, working as a travel radiology technician will help you stay fresh at work, motivated to always give your best, and focused on providing great patient care. Additionally, traveling is also a wonderful way to gain experience from a variety of places, keep your skills sharp, and continue to build an impressive resume — all while you explore the country and the many travel allied health opportunities available to you!
Rad techs represent an umbrella group of radiology-related professionals who often specialize in a variety of more specific areas of radiologic technology. For example, some may specialize as CT (computed tomography) techs, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techs, ultrasound techs, fluoroscopy techs, and X-ray techs. The uniting thread among all radiology technicians is that each assists in prepping for and performing diagnostic imaging exams, as well as running the corresponding machinery.
What Does a Rad Tech do?
Radiologic imaging is a very important way for healthcare professionals to collect internal body images to help direct and lay the groundwork for the best future care and treatment plan for each patient. Diagnostic imaging can help determine the need and/or best course of action for surgical procedures, neurological concerns and conditions, pregnancy, and cancer, as well as diagnosis and treatment of fractures, internal injuries, muscle disorders and tears, tumors, blood clots, liver and lung masses, heart disease, and more. Rad techs play a crucial role in patient care because the better the imaging, the better the diagnosis, and thus the better the treatment.
In their key role, rad techs first help prepare and position patients for testing. As radiation exposure is involved, it’s crucial for safety that radiology techs help patients strike and keep the right positioning during exams. Rad techs also operate and care for whichever very expensive and intricate diagnostic imaging equipment they employ in their specialty. After testing, rad techs may escort patients out before sharing results with the physicians who ordered testing and sometimes conferring with doctors about the evaluation of imaging results. Finally, they maintain patient exam records and file them to the relevant records system.
How to Succeed as a Rad Tech
To succeed working in radiology, you must be a detail-oriented, problem-solving, compassionate, excellent communicator with solid knowledge of anatomy and various medical terminology relating to various specialties. You must also be an expert in the operation of machines related to your specialty, radiation safety, and proper patient positioning.
A rad tech’s ultimate goal is to help ensure that imaging is performed safely and produces the clearest scans possible. They also aim to make sure results are communicated to the physicians who requested them and then properly filed. This work is essential to making the right diagnoses and treating a variety of medical
Where Do Rad Techs Work?
Most rad techs are in an acute hospital setting and are typically found in the radiology unit. They also often work closely with other units, like ER, oncology, ICU, obstetrics, neurology, and cardiology, as well as with general practitioners and internists, and any other units in need of imaging. Outside of hospitals, rad techs may work in clinics, outpatient care centers, government/military facilities, community-based healthcare centers, and other healthcare facilities.
Who Works in Radiologic Technology?
Rad techs support and work with various healthcare and administrative professionals in the radiology unit and other units that partner closely and depend on the results of each exam. This can include radiologists, specialists, internists, ER/ICU nurses and physicians, oncologists and oncology nurses, surgeons, neurologists, fellow rad techs and other allied health pros, nurses, charge/clinical coordinators, nursing assistants, administrative staff, and social workers/case managers.
How is a Rad Tech Different from a CT Tech, MRI tech, or X-ray Tech?
There are many synonyms in diagnostic imaging! Essentially, CT techs, MRI techs, and X-ray techs are each a specific type of rad tech. So, all of them are rad techs, and the only difference is the specialized area. Rad tech here functions as an umbrella term. There are also many different interchangeable terms for “rad tech,” including: “radiologic technician,” “radiology technician,” “radiographer,” “RT,” and “radiology technologist.” Radiologic technologists are simply a group of techs who aid doctors by helping create and share clean diagnostic imaging results so the physicians can then make a proper diagnosis and create a treatment plan for each patient.
Who’s Treated by Rad Techs?
Most people will see a rad tech in their lifetime. Patients cared for by rad techs are often seen in the radiology unit, which is sometimes also called the imaging unit. However, the reason a patient is there varies broadly. Several common reasons for an individual to undergo a radiologic imaging include neurological concerns and conditions, cancer, fractures, internal injuries, muscle disorders, to pinpoint a tumor or blood clot, detect liver and lung masses, and to aid with surgical procedures, heart disease, and more. Routine preventative testing like mammograms is also performed by rad techs.
Quick Rad Tech Facts
- Commonly required rad tech education: Associate Degree in Radiologic Technology (AS) and/or Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology (BSRT) from an accredited institution, plus passing your specialized certification exam.
- Commonly required rad tech certifications: American Registry of Radiologic Technicians (ARRT — often within your specific discipline; i.e., ARRT-CT, ARRT-R, etc.), Basic Life Support (BLS)
- Commonly preferred rad tech certifications: American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT), Fluoroscopy (Fluoro)
- Commonly required experience to become a travel rad tech: Facilities typically ask for a minimum of one to two years of recent, in-hospital experience in order to hire you as a travel rad tech. You’ll want the benefit of this experience to keep yourself and your patients safe before launching your travel career!
- Average and median annual rad tech salary range: There’s a wide range of averages here, just as there’s a wide range of specialties within radiologic technology. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “the median annual wage for radiologic technologists and technicians was $61,370 in May 2021. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $46,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $94,880.”
Locations where rad techs are in high demand: Demand for travel radiology techs is growing nationwide! Locations like California, Virginia, Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Nevada, and New Jersey reflect high demand with higher average salaries for rad techs.