06-12-2005, 05:06 PM #1
As always I am exploring different career paths.. I have been doing a little research on Radiology(X-Ray) tech's.. It seems like a pretty good job with a reasonable starting pay($18-22 hour) and good benefits.. From what I have gathered, the preferred path is to get a 2 year associates degree in radiologic tech and then take the ARRT Certification..
Anyone on here a Radiology tech or in a similar field?
Any information about this line of work would be great--
Room for advancement? Salary increases?
Lots of blood/guts?--I assume you see some in trauma, but what if your not in trama, but still in the hospital?
What are the classes like?
Is ultrasound(sonography) a better choice, as the older generation steers away from xray, to safer alternatives like sonogrpahy?
Thanks for the info
Last edited by Silverbackgorilla; 06-12-2005 at 05:09 PM.
06-12-2005, 05:57 PM #2
My girlfriend is a Rad Tech in here in Canada. She has been a tech for 3 years now, and is also working in CT. I told her about your question and she would like to give you some info:
Hey!! Good career move!!!! As far as advancement.....there is tons. Once you are a tech, you can branch into CT, MRI, Sonography, Angiography, as a general tech there are pay increases every year. In canada, MRI and U/S are 12 month programs(after the 2-3yrs for Xray), CT and Angio can be done with courses while you work as a tech and/or on the job training, though some of those jobs are reached via senority. However, since there are so many scanners out there, getting into CT while you are still a new grad is very possible (the pay increases as you specialize too).
I love it, there is a lot to see. If you are a general Xray tech, you go into the O.R. for things like Hip Pinnings, ankle fixations, and sometimes angiography (this can be pretty gory - and if you have never seen one, pretty neat, hammers, drills, blood spatters). I have gone into the morgue to do xrays for body identifications(skull and teeth) and cause of death films. Emergency work is always fun as you never know what to expect. I have also done Xrays in ICU's, neonatal ICU's. It is pretty impressive what some people can live through. Right now I work in a smaller hospital, but I still get to see fun stuff, especially with CT, the technology that is out there is phenomenal, I guess I should also mention fluoroscopy which is like real time xrays our job also includes doing things like barium swallows and barium enemas, not my favorite, but it is pretty neat.
As for school, the program I took was 24 months, no breaks longer than 1 week. Pretty intense, but they mixed it up with clinical parts in the hospital. There are full time and part time positions everywhere, days, evenings, nights, on call work. I was working as a tech before I even wrote our CAMRT exam (and as I have been told by other techs, the ARRT exam is way easier than ours......;-) . As far as ultrasound goes, there are problems with repetitive stress injuries in your wrist/elbow/shoulder. I have worked with older u/s techs who have enlightened me. However, you still make tons of money doing u/s, tons of jobs, and if you take care of yourself ergonomically you may never develop problems.
Well, I hope this helps, I really love my job, and I think that if you are interested in anatomy and technology this is the way to go. It is a really neat position to be in as no one else in the hospital can do your job. Good luck.
06-12-2005, 05:59 PM #3
Hey bro I dunno if your looking at interesting courses with lots of room to move ahead.. But check out Energy Systems engineering courses! Thats goingto be the next big thing IMO
06-12-2005, 08:59 PM #4Originally Posted by radar1234
Hey thanks alot for the great info.. I really appreciate it..
I had a few questions..
What are the classes focused on? Is it pretty much an intense study of the human body or what?
Here is the link from the school closest to me.. Does that look pretty standard?
And would you suggest getting an associates, or just a certificate? I am leaning toward the Associates..I feel I would be better prepared and have more room to advance..
As far as working.. What is a normal day like?
I am trying to find a local hospital and see if the will let me shadow someone for a day or few hours..I am just trying to get a feel for what the work is like..but you could give me a brief summary if you dont mind..
thanks again the info is greatly appreciated!!
06-13-2005, 12:32 PM #5Member
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
Hello newbie. Nice avatar.
06-13-2005, 05:08 PM #6
The program may be slightly different as far as how the content is organized. As for the degree I would go for that if time and $ are not an issue. The reason is that you can go anywhere in the world with a degree, but you are limited with a diploma/certificate. In Canada we are just beginning to incorporate a degree program but it is very expensive.
The classes that I took were pretty good. With our diploma program we only did courses relative to imaging. Not the general soc, psych or math. We learned how radiation was produced at the molecular level, we learned about the circuitry of the equipment, etc. As far as anatomy, we did have the anatomy/physiology course, but more specifically there was also a skeletal anatomy course - you learned every bump and dent in every single bone in the body. Kind of intense, but it makes you feel smart :-) . A lot of time is spent on positioning, and how different angles or body movements completely alter images. There is also the rad biology and protection courses that teach you how radiation actually interacts with the cells in the body, and how to get the best image with the lowest dose possible.
As far as a regular work day goes, it depends on where you work. In a clinic, you xray mobile patients for 8 hours, nothing terribly tough, but you get good at doing things fast. In a large hospital it is much different. Where I had worked before, the techs were broken up into groups that were responsible for a different area. Portable techs for O.R, ICU, or any patients that are to unstable to come to the department. Emerg techs for emergency patients - we had a specially contained xray room in the emerg department for these patients. General techs in the main department who did inpatients or outpatients that were ambulatory, and Fluoroscopy techs who did the barium swallows and enemas.
Smaller hospitals are a bit different and everyone kind of does everything, it is usually not as crazy as the bigger centres, so you don't have to split into groups. Our workdays are about 7.75 hours. We get our patients as outpatients who have been sent by their doctor's with a requisition. There are certain standard positions that we do for each body part. So you could spend 2 minutes or half an hour with a patient depending on what the doctor has ordered or how cooperative the patient is able to be. Our site is more of a first come first served as far as outpatients go but if we get any emergency patients, they get priority. You have to be creative when a patient is unable to move the way you need for an image (for instance their femur is L shaped, or their foot is pointing down instead of up) because you need to have at least 2 images done at 90 degrees to each other (esp. in bad fracture cases). There is usually good teamwork in Xray department, and other techs are really good about helping in my experience. Coffee and lunch breaks are usually priorities too, as long as you aren't going to be leaving anyone in a lurch. It can be very slow or it can be insanely busy I have had shifts where I have done no patients at all (usually evening or night), and I have had days where I don't stop, and barely squeeze a lunch in.
One of the first things I learned in school was despite what anyone will tell you......Fractures, cracks, breaks......are all the same thing. It doesn't matter how bad or insignificant the fracture is, if it is a disruption of the bony cortex, it is broken. It is kind of neat though, one of the reasons you do different positions of a body part is that you may only see something (crack, lesion) in one picture and none of the others.
I would definately go and job shadow at a hospital, a bigger one may be better as you get a better scope of the job. It was actually a requirement for us to spend so much time in xray before getting into the program, just to make sure it was for us. See if you can go for a week or so, just so you can get a feel of how it is to work in Xray, they might actually let you spend some time in ultrasound or CT (you may have to request this), likely you will have to sign a confidentiality pledge.
Sorry to ramble on, this was not very brief as you requested, but I really enjoy my job and I would encourage anyone to check it out. Good luck
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