What Are the Top Employers of Radiology Technicians?
Radiology techs have a relatively small range of facilities in which to seek employment, but there is some variety. Hospitals, private practices, and public health clinics may all have x-ray machines or other medical imaging equipment that must be operated by a professional. Private research laboratories doing neuroscientific studies, sleep research, or other brain related inquiry will need professional fMRI operators as well, so developing a range of skills in medical imaging techniques will give you a broader selection of facilities at which to potentially get hired. p>
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 60 percent of all jobs in the radiology tech field are at hospitals. As of May 2010, there were 219,900 positions in this field at general medical and surgical hospitals, and the annual mean wage for these workers was $54,340, which is about average across the board for all employers of radiology technicians. The rate of employment growth for radiology techs is about 29 percent, which is much faster than the average across all occupations, and approximately on-par with similar occupations, except for that of diagnostic medical sonographers, which will see a whopping 44 percent increase in jobs by 2020, according to The BLS.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also tracks the top-paying employers for radiology techs, though in many of these fields there are less than 1,500 jobs across the country, so when there is an opening, the field is very competitive. Although many radiology technicians choose to register after getting just an associate’s degree in the field, you can increase your chances of getting one of these higher-paying jobs if you have your bachelor’s degree or advanced training in a specialty area.
Geography Influences Salary for Radiologic Techs
Different regions of the U.S. have different demand for radiologic techs, so if you are looking to make above the median salary in this profession, you might have to move to a new city. The best paying cities for radiology techs, and the median salaries there, are displayed in the graph below.
What Are Employers Looking for in Radiology Tech Applicants
The general criteria employers look for in potential hires for radiology tech positions are about the same as for any other job. Experience in the field, a degree or other proof of training, good references, and other resume mainstays will all be required, but there are a few additions aspiring radiology techs can make to their resumes to stick out from the crowd:
- Experience at A Known Facility: Name recognition is a big deal in most businesses. Having worked at a locally or nationally respected hospital will transfer some of that facility’s reputation to you. If you worked at a place that is widely known as high quality, you must be high quality too, right?
- Diversity of Skills: Even if the job you’re applying for only needs you to take x-rays, knowing how to work an fMRI or CT scanner shows you’ve got the capacity to take on other tasks, and that you’re likely to grow in the job.
- Social Skills: This may seem trite, but being good at interviewing, being personable, and showing that you’ll be good at making patients comfortable can have a significant effect on whether you get hired or not. Medical professionals have to interact with vulnerable patients regularly, and being able to do so comfortably is absolutely necessary.
Is Self-Employment an Option for Radiology Techs?
Unfortunately, there is not much industry support for floating or “freelancing” radiology techs. Since the equipment used in this field is so expensive and difficult to transport, and the need to use it so constant, it just makes sense to hire full time professionals to do radiographic imaging.
How to Score Employment As a Radiologic Technician
Even with explosive growth in the industry, getting a job as a radiology tech won’t necessarily be easy. A lot of people know that the field is booming, which is why there are so many education options available. As happens every time a huge new opportunity opens up, many people are trying to take advantage of the favorable job market for radiologic techs. Competition will be stiff for positions in the best paying facilities and the most appealing cities, and you’ll have to amp up your resume to get the job you really want. Here are some tips for getting hired at the best places:
- Emphasize Your Rare Combination of Skills: A lot of people know how to use an x-ray machine, but not a lot of people know how to use both an x-ray and a computed tomography (CT) scanner. If you have both of those skills, MAKE SURE POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS KNOW ABOUT IT. Show that your combination of skills is a rare asset, and employers will snap you up.
- Show That You Are Flexible: Including an unrelated job with one or two relevant skills can show that you’re open to all kinds of responsibilities. If you have worked as a secretary in an office, a hospital or clinic might want to use those skills alongside your radiography responsibilities.
- Volunteer There First: Asking if you can volunteer, or even just shadow a working professional for a day, is a way of demonstrating your commitment to the work you are applying for. Because of privacy issues and legal roadblocks, it may be hard to actually get a volunteer position at a hospital, but it can’t hurt to ask, and it might put you in touch with someone who can help you get hired later on.
The Future of Work for Radiology Techs
While the medical industry has been relying on x-ray and other radiographic or sonographic imaging equipment for decades, there are always researchers trying to create newer, easier, and less dangerous techniques and equipment, so the ability to learn new techniques and keep abreast of technical innovations will help you stay employable as time passes.
Even with a projected 44 percent increase in jobs for radiology techs, there will come a time when supply starts catching up with demand, and competition for these jobs will rise. The time you spend in school is a good time to strengthen other skills as well, and make sure that you’ve got the abilities of a well-rounded medical professional. Taking some courses in health informatics, medical assisting, sonography, or another field will give you a more balanced resume and the ability to find other jobs in the medical field if you have a hard time finding the exact one you want for a while.
Learning About Employment Opportunities for Radiology Techs
In many occupations, one of the best ways to find out about job openings is to talk to your personal network of friends and colleagues. Aside from that, reaching out to a professional with a public presence, such as someone you find on a social network or industry association website, can be one strategy for making inroads into the medical community and finding job opportunities.
Additionally, since many radiologic technologist jobs are in hospitals that are open 24/7, you may be able to take on part time work during odd hours, and work your way up to a full time schedule at more comfortable times of day.
Transitioning from Radiology Tech Training to a Job in the Field
Finding a job right out of school can be difficult, but radiologic technologists shouldn’t have too hard of a time getting at least a part time gig to build up some experience in a clinical setting. Many training programs offer career placement services, and any reputable university will have a career services center that can refer you to a hospital or other medical facility in the area. Once you’ve got a lead on a possible job, maintaining communication is crucial to scoring the next available job.
Radiology Technician and Health Science Programs
Having an associate's degree is the most common educational qualification among radiology technicians and technologists. No matter which career options in the radiology technician field you may be pursuing, the health degrees listed here will have you on your way to fulfilling your dreams.
|Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences — Florida Hospital College offers an accredited online BS degree in radiological sciences that offers medical imaging technologists and radiologic technicians the opportunity to learn more skills to advance their careers in the healthcare field. Earning this degree ensure that its graduates are wholly prepared for the fast-paced and quickly adapting environment of medical imaging clinics and hospitals.|
|Pima Medical Institute — A student in Pima's AOS in radiography degree program will learn the necessary skills to provide high quality diagnostic imagery to patients. The BS in radiologic sciences program will give you the academic insight into radiologic health care administration to evaluate and understand the diagnostic imagery performed on clients. This program is highly relevant in today's expanding medical field.|
|DeVry University — DeVry University's B.B.A. in Health Services Management is an online bachelor's degree with courses that provide radiology tech students with the pre-requisites they need to enter a radiology clinical program upon graduation. DeVry also offers a related associate's degree in health information technology. DeVry works with top business and health care industry leaders to design programs that produce graduates who meet the needs of the field.|
|Herzing College — The Associate of Science degree in medical assisting from Herzing provides students with an introduction to how a physician's office operates. Students of this program are trained to assist the doctor in the exam room, to perfom routine lab procedures such as radiological procedures, and to handle various administrative tasks. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be ready for entry-level employment as a medical assistant.|
|Strayer University — This particular Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Strayer University has a concentration in health services administration, which prepares individuals for managerial positions in radiology care facilities, hospitals, health clinics, physician's offices, and myriad other healthcare settings. Because this is primarily a business degree, graduates will have funadmental skills in business decision making.|
|Virginia College Online — Virginia College online offers a bachelor's degree in health services management for individuals looking either for entry-level positions within healthcare or a promotion within a current medical career. This program prepares students for management in hospitals, private practices, home health centers, and other types of healthcare organizations. VCO also offers an AS degree in medical office administration.|
|Northwestern College — As patient files begin to be transferred from paper to the electronic cloud, employers are increasingly searching for healthcare IT professionals. While not specifically an X-ray tech degree, AAS in health information technology from Northwestern College will give you the skills and experience necessary to engage in the latest healthcare industry technologies.|