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Is It Hard to Become a Radiologic Technologist?

Is It Hard to Become a Radiologic Technologist?

Two healthcare professionals in scrubs using X-ray equipment

Imaging tests are a critical component of healthcare. X-ray imaging is used to help diagnose injuries and illnesses, monitor the effectiveness of treatments, and even aid in providing cancer care. The healthcare professionals that prepare patients for X-rays and operate the imaging equipment are known as radiologic technologists. Located in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Northwestern College offers students an associate degree in this growing field. Here, we provide insight into this exciting career path in the healthcare field.

What Is Radiologic Technology?

Also known as radiography, radiologic technology is the use of medical imaging equipment to assist doctors in diagnosing and treating injuries and illnesses. Radiologic technologists have a wide range of responsibilities, including:

  • Operating and maintaining imaging equipment
  • Recording patient medical histories
  • Positioning patients for imaging tests
  • Ensuring patient safety and setting up protective equipment
  • Following testing directives from a physician
  • Maintaining patient records

Most states require certification to work as a radiologic technologist.

Preparing for a Career as a Radiologic Technologist

While you’ll need academic and clinical training to work as a radiologic technologist, many positions only require a two-year degree. This is unlike other career paths that require years of advanced education and training. The associate in applied science degree in radiologic technology offered at Northwestern College is designed for those who wish to pursue a career as a radiologic technologist. This 108-credit-hour program can be completed in two years and covers topics including:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Biology and pathology
  • Radiation protection
  • Radiographic procedures
  • Medical terminology

The radiologic technology program is offered in a hybrid format, with a mix of in-person and online classes to provide more flexibility for busy students. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredits the program. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the national certifying exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), a key certification that healthcare employers look for when hiring radiologic technologists.

Where Do Radiologic Technologists Work?

You’ll find radiographers in all kinds of healthcare environments: hospitals, diagnostic labs, surgery centers, and doctor’s offices. Graduates of Northwestern College’s radiologic technology program are prepared for entry-level radiologic technologist jobs in clinical settings. They may choose to specialize in different areas of radiologic technology, such as:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Mammography
  • Medical sonography
  • Computer tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Like many healthcare occupations, the employment of radiologic technologists is expected to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates over 16,000 job openings for MRI and radiologic technologists annually, on average, over the next few years.

A Commitment to Student Success

Northwestern College is a career-focused educational institution that’s committed to preparing students to enter the workforce after graduation. Courses at Northwestern College are taught by experienced instructors who have worked in the field themselves and can draw on their professional backgrounds while teaching practical skills and techniques.

Northwestern College offers career services to help both current students and alumni achieve their career goals. The career services team provides:

  • Guidance on writing resumes and cover letters
  • Assistance with job searches
  • Connections to career fairs and job boards
  • Job interview preparation guides and checklists

Additionally, students can take advantage of a wide range of services to help them succeed academically, including coaching and free peer tutoring.

Start Your Radiographic Technology Career at Northwestern College

Students interested in radiologic technology careers will find a supportive and welcoming environment at Northwestern College. Located in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and serving the greater Chicago area, Northwestern College is dedicated to helping students succeed in their healthcare careers. To learn more about our radiologic technologist program, request information today.