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Radiographer - Healthcare Career
Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist, discovered X-radiation, a form of electromagnetic radiation, in 1895. Since then, X-rays have been used for diagnostic purposes and, more recently, radiation therapy. As technology advances, this medical specialty is expanding and is creating many job opportunities within the field including that of radiographer.  


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Radiographer Job Description
  The radiographer is an essential part of the radiology team. Radiographers, who are also called radiologic or X-ray technicians, interact with patients and perform the actual procedures. They are responsible for patient safety, correct positioning and proper procedures to obtain accurate diagnostic images or therapy. It is crucial to prevent overexposure of radiation to both patients and themselves. They also administer any necessary drugs or chemicals needed for specific procedures.

At times, they also assist physicians who are performing complex medical or surgical procedures that require x-ray documentation. These technicians need to be able to work quickly and accurately under pressure. Even though they are not called upon to interpret the findings, they need to be familiar with anatomy and body systems, so they can obtain the best images possible and understand when something is abnormal.

There are two types of radiographers and various specialties within the divisions. Diagnostic technicians use X-rays as a means to view injury or disease. This can include traditional X-rays as well as fluoroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), angiography and ultrasonic studies. Therapeutic radiographers treat cancer patients with doses of radiation to destroy cancerous cells.

From the time of discovery, X-ray images were produced on film, but the technology is now moving toward computed and digital radiography. Radiographers not only need to know how to handle and develop film that is still used in some institutions, but they need to be proficient in operating sophisticated computer systems and keeping up with the constant advances.

Most radiographers are employed by hospitals or freestanding medical facilities. Many areas of specialization are available that will provide satisfying healthcare careers for those trained in this field.
How Can I Become a Radiographer?
  Many community colleges offer two-year associate healthcare degree programs in radiologic technology. The program should be approved by the American Registry of Radiology Technologists (ARRT) and include both classroom and clinical training. Academic coursework will include anatomy, physiology, pathology, radiographic imaging and medical terminology. States vary on licensing and certification requirements. If certification is required, follow the instructions on the ARRT website. Once certification is obtained, it can be maintained with continuing education credits. Specialization in areas such as mammography, sonography and X-ray therapy can be obtained with continued education sponsored by the ARRT.

A bachelor’s degree in the field opens up more possibilities for job advancement. This could be obtained before entering the field or after completing an associate degree and gaining clinical experience. Graduate degrees provide opportunities for supervisory or teaching positions.
What is the Salary of a Radiographer?
  The starting salary of a radiologic technician is about $40,000 per year with the opportunity to make up to $75,000 annually with just an associate degree. Opportunities for advancement are good since the technology is advancing rapidly. Working conditions are generally good and the job offers flexible hours with good benefits.

This healthcare career is ideal for the person who does not want to spend years going to school. The fast-paced work environment gives the technician an opportunity to work closely with the healthcare team while also interacting with patients.
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