Diagnostic Imaging Technicians perform various diagnostic imaging examinations on patients to capture the accurate images of their interior body parts such as tissues, organs, bones etc. that a physician can use to diagnose health problems. These skilled technicians work either in the field of sonography or radiography. While sonography technicians carry out tests with the use of sound waves, radiography technicians work with radiation and may perform exams using x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) equipment etc.
Their other duties include preparing patients for procedure, recording patient histories, protecting patients from radiation exposure, following imaging test instructions, maintaining diagnostic imaging equipment, consulting with physicians, helping in evaluate the image etc.
Diagnostic Imaging Technicians may work at various settings such as public or private hospitals, physician’s offices, outpatient centres, diagnostic laboratories, accident and emergency wards etc. They usually work full time. Since imaging is needed in emergency situations, some of these professionals work evenings, weekends, or on call.
To become a Becoming a Diagnostic Imaging Technician, the aspiring candidates need to complete at least an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or sonography from an accredited institution. It takes two years to complete the program. The curriculum combines classroom studies and laboratory work. The common syllabus includes anatomy, physiology, patient care, equipment operation, medical terminology and radiation protection. However, the students can go for a bachelor’s degree or any higher degree related to the radiology field for better job prospects.
Certification and Licensure
Since the position of Diagnostic Imaging Technician requires to be licensed in many states of USA, the aspiring candidates need to pass a licensing exam and complete a state-approved training program. These professionals can also obtain an exam-based certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
Apart from clinical knowledge, a Diagnostic Imaging Technician possesses various skills such as attention to detail, good hand-eye coordination, empathy towards patients, critical thinking abilities, high medical ethics, ability to work under pressure, strong physical stamina to work for long duration, ability to maintain privacy, keen to help patients emotionally and physically, pleasant communications and interpersonal skills, competent in computer operations etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Diagnostic Imaging Technician remains excellent in USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 21% to 39% from 2012 to 2022. The average annual salary of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and Radiologic Technologist was $65,860 and $54,620 respectively in May 2012.