Allied Health Jobs: Radiology Careers
One of the most exciting areas of career growth in the medical field is allied health jobs. Providing a great balance of stability and variety, allied health is a job path that is both rewarding and satisfying.
And because of this field’s continued growth, allied health professionals can also experience the travel job lifestyle, which often comes with a housing stipend, travel stipend, great pay and benefits.
If you have just launched a career in radiology, let’s take a closer look at different allied health jobs you could grow into and identify some of the most promising careers available.
What are Allied Health Jobs?
Allied health defines a constellation of over sixty medical professionals who apply their expertise toward the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients of all ages.
As a distinct group, they collaborate with other healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurses, dentists and pharmacists to provide comprehensive care in several areas.
What are Allied Health Professionals?
Allied health professionals provide effective and accessible healthcare to the population. Apart from diagnosing and treating various ailments, they work in areas such as diet, nutrition and prevention, making them the first line of defense against more serious health issues.
Allied health professionals make up 60% of the medical workforce and take on a nearly limitless number of roles.
These professionals can comprise careers such as:
- Respiratory therapists
- Physical therapists
and more. Although there are many paths to pursue in the realm of allied health, a growing number of individuals have set their sights on the exciting field of diagnostic radiology.
What is Diagnostic Radiology?
Radiology leverages the power of imaging techniques to prevent, diagnose and treat injuries and diseases. It covers the entirety of diagnostic and image-guided therapeutic techniques as well as the use of other forms of radiant energy.
General Education Requirements for Radiology
Becoming a radiologist is one of many paths you can take in radiology. There are many other diagnostic radiology careers that require various degrees of education and formal training. And some require less education than others.
General requirements for a career in radiology include a high school diploma or equivalent and the completion of an approved certificate or degree program in diagnostic radiology. Factoring in education and clinical hours, if required, a full-time program will take roughly two to four years to complete. Further education will be required depending on what your specialization is.
Available Careers in the Radiology Field
Careers in the radiology field offer flexibility and growth. It is relatively easy to branch out and pursue related fields with an educational background in radiologic technology.
With numerous career opportunities within radiology, it can be hard to decide which area you would like to advance in and which field would be easiest to transfer your current allied health skills to.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most prominent and exciting diagnostic radiology career paths available. Based on medical career projection models, these positions will likely increase in demand for many years to come.
Radiology technicians (also referred to as rad techs) provide medical exams with diagnostic imaging technology to create images. The purpose of images is to diagnose, monitor and treat illnesses.
Radiology and imaging technicians are integral in the patient care process and they are tasked with providing the best possible visual data for doctors to base their treatment.
In addition to maneuvering patients to capture images, technicians will be involved in a healthy amount of patient interaction, including educating them on the process and gathering medical data beforehand. Empathy and professionalism are key components of this job.
The national median salary for a radiologic imaging technologist is $66,490. It’s important to note that this number factors in the salaries of its subspecialties as well. This field is estimated to grow 9% over the next ten years, well ahead of the national average.
Regarding education, you will need to complete at minimum a two- or four-year accredited radiologic technology program. Sixty-five percent of technicians enter the workforce with a two-year degree or certification.
With rapid advancements in radiologic imaging technology and the move towards digital, more medical practices and facilities can incorporate it into their continuum of care. Radiologic technicians work in places such as:
- Medical laboratories
- Diagnostic laboratories
- State, local and private hospitals
- Outpatient and urgent care centers
- Physician offices
The world of radiology and imaging is expansive. Technicians can step into several specialties that may only require some additional coursework and certification.
Imaging professionals conduct computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans using specialized x-ray equipment. Most positions will require the addition of a CT advanced imaging certification.
Ultrasound technicians capture diagnostic images using ultrasound technology. Besides diagnosing potential diseases or health concerns, they are integral in helping monitor the health of a fetus during pregnancy. With additional courses and certifications, a radiologic technologist is able to transition to an ultrasound technician.
Echo technicians are dedicated to cardiovascular imaging. Echo techs leverage the use of sound waves to create an image of a patient’s heart. Radiologic technologists can make the jump by participating in a program in ultrasonography.
MRI technologists are trained to use magnetic resonance imaging technology to generate scans that doctors can use for diagnosis and treatment. If transitioning from another field, an additional one to two years of education will be required.
Nuclear medicine technologists have roles in both the diagnostic and treatment side of patient care. They prepare and administer various radioactive drugs and use advanced imaging equipment to record their path through a patient’s body.
Once a physician interprets the data, nuclear medicine technicians may then be responsible for administering doses of radiation to treat patients.
The national median salary for a nuclear medicine technician is $78,760. Projected job growth sits at just 2%. That equates to roughly 1,000 new job openings per year. However, the churn rate (number of techs that either transition to another field or retire) tends to be greater, opening up the potential for greater growth in the future.
Nuclear medicine technicians need an associate degree from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program. Related healthcare professionals are able to utilize a formal nuclear medicine program to transition into the field.
Places to Work
In this field, you will find jobs in places such as hospitals, diagnostic labs, imaging clinics and physicians’ offices.
Interventional radiology technicians aid physicians and surgeons in intervention procedures by performing organ and body scans of patients using a wide range of imaging and diagnostic tools. A major component of their job involves monitoring the status of the patient for any abnormal activity and communicating with other team members during the procedure.
Salary & Job Outlook
The pay for this field is largely dependent on experience. However, the median annual salary is around $85,000. It is a field with tremendous upside for those willing to stick with it for the long haul. With the acceleration of imaging innovation, this field is expected to experience tremendous growth over the next ten years.
A bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology or a similar field of study is required to be an interventional radiology technician. Another option is to complete a two- or four-year accredited program. Attaining certification is also required.
Places to Work
Interventional radiology technologists work with various radiologists, surgeons, and additional personnel to provide diagnostic and therapeutic care in settings such as outpatient clinics, hospitals and diagnostic imaging centers.
Radiation and oncology therapists set up and administer doctor-prescribed radiation treatments for cancer and other serious conditions. They utilize powerful radiation therapy equipment and are highly skilled at working with patients to deliver high-quality effective care.
Salary & Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, job growth is expected to move at 6% over the next ten years. That’s on pace with the national average. Salary estimates will vary based on geographic location and experience but the national median annual salary for a radiation therapist is $82,790.
Working as a radiation therapist will require a degree in radiation therapy. The typical radiation and oncology therapist has an associate degree. Additional certifications may be required based on where you reside.
Places to Work
Radiation and oncology therapists work in several healthcare settings including hospitals, outpatient centers and physicians’ offices.
Resources for Allied Health Jobs
Whether you’re new to the allied health field or transitioning from a related career in medicine, the process doesn’t have to be daunting or overwhelming. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you progress through your journey in diagnostic radiology.
While diagnostic radiology is an accessible field of practice, it requires a significant time and effort investment. Taking inventory of your current situation (strengths, weaknesses, limitations, time) will be important to ensure you are able to see this journey through. Knowing your limitations will help you find the best path for you.
Unsure of the steps you should be taking? Having a clear idea of where you want to end up in your career will help better define the path you need from education to job opportunities. For example, if your ultimate goal is to use this career as a transition point, you’ll want to take an educational path that gives you the most versatility to branch into other areas of study in the future.
There are various degree programs for nearly every field of diagnostic radiology. While many would be tempted to dedicate the maximum amount of time towards their education, it’s not always feasible or wise.
The fact is that the majority of technologists entering the field do so with the equivalent of an associate’s degree or completion of a two-year program. As with many allied health professions, experience and real-world skills are greater factors in affecting salary and opportunities than how long you stayed in school.
Choose Soliant for Allied Health Jobs in Radiology Field
Finding the right allied health job is both exciting and overwhelming. Our team at Soliant understands this and is here to help.
As one of the nation’s largest medical staffing companies, we are deeply invested in connecting highly qualified professionals with best-in-class opportunities. We do this by helping you every step of the way and leveraging decades of experience to help avoid common pitfalls to supercharge your career.