A radiology assistant helps the radiologist with diagnostic procedures and preparing the patients for examinations. You have to graduate from a Radiology Assistant (RA) degree program to be eligible for work.
Radiology assistants play a vital role in the healthcare industry although this career profile is comparatively new to the diagnostic sector. Radiology assistants are employed by hospitals and imaging centers and are compensated well for the services they provide. According to national statistics, the average salaries are in the $105,000 mark. Radiology assistants help radiologists who are doctors of medicine in assessing patients and preparing medical reports. Individuals who pay attention to detail and can interpret data will do well in this profession.
Radiology assistants also work independently and make reports based on preliminary investigations. If you are wondering about the education requirements, well the path isn’t easy. People with several years of clinical experience are eligible for radiology assistant programs. Some training institutes also require aspirants to have a certain number of credits in subjects like biology, mathematics, etc. However, once you complete the training program and get certified it will help you get gainful employment.
You can’t just enroll for a radiology assistant education program, only certified radiology technician (RTs) who have several years of clinical experience are eligible to enroll in accredited radiology assistant degree programs. One of the most preferred degree programs is the two year’s associate degree. These degree programs are offered by vocation institutes, colleges, and universities. Some institutes require aspirants for the radiology assistant program to complete a minimum two thousand hours of clinical experience to qualify.
Technologists will also be introduced to the study of advanced anatomy and pharmacology. This will help them better care for the patients and contribute to the radiology team in the work setting. The two-year course also consists of learning imaging principles and radiation physics, which help with diagnosing medical problems. Radiobiology and medical terminology are the other important aspects of the degree program. Health care law and medical ethics are some of the other subjects that will be taught in the degree program. The course work for the associate degree program prepares candidates for conducting innovative research methods.
Upon completion of the course work, graduates are required to take an exam conducted by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). This is a certification exam and the students who pass the exam will be referred to as Registered Radiologist Assistants (RRA). Some states in America require radiology assistants to get licensure before practicing, although the number of states is limited to 11, it is expected to rise. More information regarding licensing is available on the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) website.
Job Description and Salary
One of the main tasks of radiology assistants is to interact with patients and apprise them about the diagnostic procedure. They also take the medical history of the patient in order to assess if the procedure is suitable for them. Radiology assistants perform procedures like fluoroscopy, which entails taking real-time pictures of patients internal organs.
Preparing patients for the procedure by covering them with protective shields and requesting them to remove ornaments is one of their tasks. Using hi-tech medical equipment for generating the images and reviewing them is part of their duty. They have to work in teams which consist of radiologists, and technicians. Generating preliminary reports that will help diagnosis is one of the most important tasks that they perform.
According to statistics, the salary varies according to the geographic location of the job and experience of the candidates. Reports suggest that the average salary for radiology assistants ranges between $70,000 to $90,000 per year. In states like California, radiology assistants can expect to earn around $75,000 annually and in New York the number jumps to $80,000 per year.
The education requirements to become a radiology assistant aren’t easy but if you fit the eligibility criteria it is advisable to enroll for the program, as the rewards will be worth the effort. The job outlook for this profession is also expected to be great in the coming years.