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How to Begin and Advance Your Radiology Career
An associate’s degree is the most common degree to begin a radiologic or MRI technologist career however bachelor’s and advanced degrees are available to further your medical imaging career.
Important qualities outlined by the U.S.Board of Labor Statistics include:
- Detail oriented: to produce high quality images to diagnose and treat the patient while maintaining patient safety.
- Interpersonal skill: to put distressed patients at ease to get useful images.
- Math skill: to determine proper dosing to produce quality images and to maintain patient safety.
- Physical stamina: to work on their feet for extended periods of time.
- Technical skill: to operate complex machinery.
It is important to get an education from a program that is certified by The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), as it is required for licensure in many states. We encourage you to consider taking additional courses that will assist your interaction with patients, such as cultural competency and interpersonal communications.
Specialization requires additional training and certification in your specific field by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Areas of specialization include:
- Medical imaging
- Cellular imaging
- Medical sonography
- Computer tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Becoming a certified technician requires you to successfully pass exams and meet the Technical Standards and Essential Functions (TSEF). The exams may be given by your individual state or by the ARRT and it will test the following skills:
- Observation skills: to assess and comprehend the diagnosis
- Communication skills: to clearly correspond, including verbal, nonverbal and written
- Motor skills: to move immobile patients
- Intellectual skills: to make decision, interpret, collect and integrate information
Most states require individuals to secure a license in addition to certification. Some states use the ARRT exams for licensing, however we recommend contacting your state’s board of health board for more information regarding the state’s requirements.
Join professional organizations
Professional organizations help you to network with peers and to remain informed of new techniques, procedures, requirements and updates on conferences and continuing education programs.
Maintain your status
Maintaining your ARRT certified status will require 24 hours of continuing education every two years.
Become the teacher
As you gain experience, you may have the opportunity manage or to train entry-level technicians, resulting in great personal growth. You will be able to ensure you know how to educate and manage others in a professional and helpful manner.
Advance in your career
If you want to advance in your imaging career, consider taking courses that will assist you in studying for the new American Board of Magnetic Resonance Safety (ABMRS) credentials:
- MRSO (Magnetic Resonance Safety Officer) credentials