What is a Radiologic Technologist?

September 2, 2020

 A career as a radiologic technician is rewarding and an important component of a functioning healthcare system. Start your career at Marian University.

A radiologic technologist performs X-rays and other diagnostic exams on patients. Technologists perform tests supporting physicians making accurate diagnoses.

With the rapid growth in the healthcare industry, the demand for radiologic technologists has also grown. A career as a rad tech typically attracts two kinds of students. Marian University has designed programs to serve both.

One group consists of students with no prior experience who want to enter a traditional, on-campus Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology program. The other are those who have earned a two-year radiologic technologist certificate and want to enter a 100% online bachelor’s degree program for the next step in their careers.

Either pathway prepares graduates to take on leadership in a rapidly growing profession.

What Does a Radiologic Technologist Do?

A rad tech performs diagnostic imaging procedures. The most well-known include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and computed tomography (CT) scans. Specializations in the field include cardiovascular-interventional radiography, mammography or sonography.

Depending on the test, some rad techs prepare a mixture that patients drink allowing diagnostic imaging of soft tissue. They position patients correctly for each test. Radiologic Technologists also maintain equipment, intake patients before testing, keep patient records, and work with doctors to evaluate images.

Radiologic technologists work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, physician offices, mobile imaging companies, industrial plants, research centers, and government agencies.

The career requires a blend of knowledge in innovative technology and human compassion. The Association of Medical Imaging Management says that the profession “requires a dependable personality with a mature and caring nature.”

Job titles and specialties within the field include radiographer, computed tomography technologist, diagnostic medical sonographer, mammographer, and nuclear medicine technology, according to AHRA, an acronym for American Healthcare Radiology Administrators.

The Demand For Radiologic Technologists

Demand for radiologic technologists is expected to remain high in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 9% increase in the number of rad techs between 2018 and 2028. That translates into 23,300 people entering the profession.

Salaries also are increasing. In Wisconsin, the average annual salary for a radiologic technologist reached $60,440 in May 2019. The top 25% in Wisconsin made more than $69,660.

How Marian University Prepares Radiologic Technologists

The two degree programs offered by Marian University prepare graduates for success as rad techs no matter where they are in their career.

Traditional Four-Year Program

For those with no prior experience as radiologic technologists, the traditional four-year on-campus degree program provides the classroom education and clinical training needed to become a licensed radiologic technologist. Marian University ranks among the first schools in Wisconsin to offer this degree.

After completing their sophomore year in the program, students spend 40 hours per week for 22 months studying radiologic technology theory in the classroom and applying those theories at clinical sites in Appleton, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, and Waupun.

The program includes a liberal arts core. Students also get experiential learning opportunities in specialized areas that include surgical and portable procedures, pain management, interventional radiology, cardiology procedures, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging.

Online Degree Completion

The online degree completion program is designed for those who already have earned rad tech certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and now want to earn a bachelor’s degree. The four-year degree prepares graduates for leadership positions.

The online program offers working adults the flexibility they need to earn their degree while maintaining their current job. That includes six different start times for the program each year.  Rad techs graduate from the bachelor’s degree program with leadership skills, including expertise in communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

For those wanting to enter a growing healthcare profession that provides a critical service and improves patient outcomes, radiologic technology offers an excellent career choice. Whether you are new to the profession or looking to complete your degree, Marian University has the program that can support you in becoming a certified registered radiologic technologist and a licensed Wisconsin radiographer.