Lifelong Learning in Radiologic Technology: Required
Becoming a radiologic technologist is a big step. But it is only the first step into a field that requires a dedication to lifelong learning. There is no way around it. Even if you make the choice to remain a radiologic technologist working in the general radiology department (which is, by the way, an excellent choice and destination of many R.T.s) you will still find yourself always furthering your education. Technology is always changing in this field and patient care is too. New equipment, new hospital policies, and new procedures will keep you on your toes. Then there are the continuing education credits required by the credentialing organization for R.T.s, the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists). Twenty-four continuing education credits are required every two years to maintain your registration.
Many R.T.s choose to move into other modalities in radiology. If you choose to learn a new modality such as MRI, CT, mammography, radiation therapy, special procedures, sonography, nuclear medicine (you get the point…the opportunities are boundless), then you will find yourself in the world of education again. Electing to learn a new modality opens up new pathways in radiology that are only available through education.
To climb higher within the field, you can obtain an advanced degree. Earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or even a doctoral degree allows you to move into education, sales, management, or administration. New options are always appearing in the field. Radiologist Assistant (think physician assistant but specializing in radiology) is a new up and coming profession within radiology. PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) administrator is another growing field combining the worlds of radiologic technology and IT.
Radiologic technology is a fulfilling career. It is a career that has so many opportunities and pathways, but it is important to remember one thing: those opportunities are only accessible to those willing to commit to lifelong learning and continuing education.
Sean Benjamin is the Director of Radiologic Technology at Northwestern College. He has worked in a variety of areas within Radiologic Technology including Special Procedures, Computed Tomography, Pediatrics, and Education.