How to Become a Radiology Assistant

The Radiology Assistant position is the most advanced position one can seek in Radiology, not including the Radiologist Physician career.

These professionals play a vital role and work in conjunction with Physicians and Radiologic Technicians.

Radiology Assistants can work with a variety of medical imaging equipment that helps with the diagnosis of a patient.

They perform highly advanced techniques that are necessary for diagnosis.

These professionals are required to work with diagnostic imaging equipment such as:

  • X rays
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Mammography
  • Computed Tomography

The Radiology Assistant position is a fairly new career established for the purpose of alleviating the Radiologist Physician workload.

These professionals are highly trained individuals, who have thorough knowledge in anatomy, radiographic physics and radiology techniques.

They work very closely with Radiologist Physicians performing advanced radiological techniques.

Education Requirements to Become a Radiology Assistant

In order for candidates to become a Radiology Assistant , they must attend a Baccalaureate educational program, complete a Radiologist Assistant program and seek certification and registration as a Radiographer.

In essence, candidates who want to become a Radiology Assistant need to finish a Bachelor’s degree and then attend a Radiologist Assistant Master’s program and finally pass the certification administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART).

After acquiring a Bachelor’s in Radiography, candidates will need to attend and complete a Registered Radiology Assistant (R.R.A.) program accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

A list of accredited Registered Radiology Assistant programs can be found on AART’s website.

After acquiring a radiography certification, those wanting to become a Radiology Assistant must also fulfill a full time clinical experience lasting at least one year.

A Radiology Assistant may also be required to gain licensure depending on their state of residency.

According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, there are at least 28 states that require Radiology Assistants to gain licensure in order to perform medical services in their state.

Although specific licensing requirements vary by state, most of these states accept a certification administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Radiology Assistant Job Description

Radiology Assistants are responsible for assisting and working with Radiologist Physicians and Radiology Technologists.

Together, they run all aspects of an imaging services department.

Radiology Assistants work in a clinical or hospital environment completing an average of 46 hours per week.

Radiology Assistants must be able to work well with others as they interact constantly with other professionals and ill patients.

These professionals work under the direction of a Radiology Physician and are mainly responsible for performing duties that help alleviate the time constraints and pressures of their supervising physician.

They help with patient care by performing highly advanced radiological services that help with a patient’s diagnosis.

Radiology Assistants are required to read through a patient’s medical history in order to determine the type of treatment a patient needs.

They also report any medical findings to their supervising Radiologist Physician.

A Radiology Assistant is also required to confirm a patient’s medical history, update any new information and go over the procedures they are scheduled for.

A Radiology Assistant will need to ask a patient whether they followed specifications given in advance such as dietary requirements.

Asking the patient important medical questions will help a Radiology Assistant determine whether the radiology procedure is appropriate and safe for the patient.

Asking questions about pregnancies or other medications a patient is on is important in determining whether they are at risk of adverse affects.

A Radiology Assistant will monitor a patient throughout a procedure and perform post procedure observations and give patient’s further instructions.

Radiology Assistant Salary and Career Path

The Radiology Assistant position was added by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists in order to help ease the workload that Radiologic Physicians were responsible for.

This position was created as a result of a shortage of Radiologic Physicians.

The demand for Radiology Assistants is very high and will continue to be this way as long as there is a shortage of Radiologic Physicians in the medical field.

Because this type of position is extremely high in demand, the wages reflect this need.

Radiology Assistants are well paid, and according to the bureau of labor statistics, the national median income is approximately $42,000 per year.

The salary range for Radiology Assistants is approximately $35,000 to an attractive wage of $75,000 per year.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a radiology assistant?

Radiology assistants perform radiologic procedures to diagnose a variety of conditions and illnesses.

Radiology assistants are also responsible for diagnosing illnesses alongside a radiologist, making preliminary evaluations of images and ordering additional images if needed.

As a radiology assistant, you will adjust and maintain imaging equipment, will prepare patients for the procedure and answer their questions, protect patients by shielding the areas that don’t need imaging, operate the machines, and update the patients’ medical records.

For this job, you need good interpersonal skills, patience, compassion, and physical strength but also communication skills.

You will also have to follow strict safety procedures to avoid contamination and radiation.

How much does a radiology assistant make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for radiology technologists was $59,520.

Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors, including the radiology assistant’s education and level of experience.

If you are a radiologic assistant, you can expect to earn from $60,000 to $80,000 as a starting salary, getting to over $100,000 after a couple of years of experience in the field.

How much does it cost to become a radiology assistant?

If you want to become a radiology assistant you must first become a radiology technologist.

On average, the cost to complete a diploma radiology tech program at an accredited institution is between $3,000 and $10,000 for each year of study.

If you want to complete a 2-year-long associate’s degree program, the cost is between $4,000 and $12,000 for each year.

After graduation, you will take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam to become a Registered Technologist.

As a registered technologist, you will prepare patients for procedures, carry out imaging under the supervision of a physician and keep patients records.

Usually, radiology techs gain around two years of full-time work experience before applying to radiologist assistant programs.

You will need around 3 years of training before earning your radiology assistant degree.

After this, you must pass a second ARRT examination to become a practicing radiologist assistant.

What is the demand for radiology assistants?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of radiology technologists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

As the baby-boom generation grows older, the need to diagnose injuries and diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s will increase.

Imaging is used to diagnose a variety of conditions and radiology assistants will be needed to take these images.

How long does it take to become a radiology assistant?

You will need at least 7 years of training and work experience before becoming a radiology assistant.

The first step is to become a radiologic technologist, which means that you have to complete an accredited post-secondary program.

Associate’s degree programs for radiology technicians are 2 years long while bachelor’s degree programs can be completed in around 4 years.

Then, after gaining a few years of work experience as a radiology tech, you can follow a training program for radiology assistants.

Graduate programs for radiology assistants can be completed in around 3 years.

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