Radiography Jobs?
January 11, 2014 6:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking into changing my life up a bit, and due to recent events, the idea of radiography came to the fore as an option. Our local tech school has an associate radiography degree, is this a good degree to have? Is there anything else one needs to be considered? I am wondering if anyone has any experiences as a radiographer (in particular MRI, but X-Ray or whatever other imaging out there is also nice to hear about as well)... What sort of hours is common? In terms of city, I currently live in a 200k+ city (500k+ metro), and there are a fair number of hospitals which are considered top-tier in the area. What sorts of workload does one have as a radiographer? Is there a lot of required overtime? What about competition for job openings? What sorts of skills are the most important? What are the difficult parts of being a radiographer? What about entry level vs top-tier (in terms of job responsibilities, skillsets and other things). In short... What is good to know about a radiography job if one wants to pursue it, and what are some pitfalls to avoid?
posted by symbioid to Work & Money (2 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This is purely anecdotal, but I have a friend who recently completely a radiography program in the Boston area (a global medical hub). And apparently he is having a difficult time finding a job--lots of competition. So you might want to do some research on the job market--independent of whatever the school offering the program tells you.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 9:59 AM on January 12, 2014

I was hoping that an actual rad tech or some other type of clinician would show up to answer this, but here are my impressions as somebody who works in the business side of health care:
  • A good associate's degree in radiography is one that's recognized by the ARRT for a radiography certification and your state's licensure system (if one exists, which it does in most states). A program the ARRT recognizes is likely to be recognized by your state too, but check.
  • The most common setting for rad techs to be employed in is hospitals, but more and more new jobs created will be in ambulatory settings like doctor's offices and freestanding imaging centers.
  • What the hours are like are going to depend on the clinical setting. Hospitals are more likely to involve night shifts, non-acute settings not so much. If you do have to do shift work in a hospital, my general impression is that it's more likely that you'll be scheduled to work 40 a week, just not as a 9-to-5, than that they'll be willing to pay for OT, but I think this will depend a lot on the local labor market. The imaging modality you specialize in will also affect this; for instance, CTs are used a lot in emergency medicine so there's going to be higher demand for them after hours than something like mammography or DXA.
  • The career ladder is going to be pretty limited. You can learn and get certified in additional imaging modalities, but there's not really a lot of scope for on-the-job advancement. Compensation is typically middle-middle class, but without much upward trajectory.
  • Job growtth is currently fast, but the low barriers to entry mean lots of competition. In the long term, the resource consumption by the American health care system is not sustainable, and one place there's likely to be eventual retrenchment is in consumption of diagnostic imaging studies that aren't absolutely medically necessary. On the other hand, the aging baby boomer cohort should stimulate demand.

posted by strangely stunted trees at 10:09 AM on January 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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