Road to Radiographer - What does it take to get there?
What does it take to become a radiographer and how long will it take? The answer really depends on which road you choose. Most radiology technician and technologist employers, in particular hospitals, prefer to hire people with formal training. A formal radiography training program can vary in length from 1 to 4 years. Two-year associates degree programs are most common, but those finishing a four-year bachelor's program will have an advantage in filling the most desirable and higher salary positions. A bachelor's degree is often a requirement for supervisory, administrative, or teaching positions. If you are already an experienced radiographer, or another health profession such as medical technology and nursing, then a 1-year certification program is a possibility.
All radiography programs require you to have completed either a high school diploma or the equivalent. To prepare for a formal training program courses in math, physics, chemistry, and biology can be very helpful. The training will include both classroom and clinical instruction. The courses will cover anatomy and physiology, patient care, radiation physics, radiation protection, principles of imaging, medical terminology, patient positioning, medical ethics, radiobiology, and pathology.
Once you have completed your formal training you can be registered by the American Registry of Rediologic Technologists. To become registered you must pass an examination. Many employers prefer to hire radiographers who have undergone the registration process. Radiographers must complete 24 hours of continuing education every other year to be recertified.
As you gain experience and additional training you may opt to become a radiology specialists. Specialists perform CT scanning, angiography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Eventually you may progress on to instruction or become a director in a radiologic technology program.