Radiology technologists and magnetic resonance technologists typically need an associate's degree to operate medical imaging machines correctly. MRI technologists may also require several years of related work experience. Most states require radiology technologists to be licensed or certified, but few states require a license for magnetic resonance imaging technologists. To be licensed, technicians must graduate from a program accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Radiological Technology Education (JRCERT) and pass a certification exam.
Continuing education credits are necessary to maintain certification. If you work in the area of general imaging (x-rays) or computed tomography, you may need to work 8-hour rotating shifts. Radiology technicians use medical imaging equipment, such as X-ray machines, MRIs, CT scans, and sonograms. They must place the patient and the team in an impeccable position to obtain the correct image and protect the patient by covering areas that do not need to be imaged. San Jacinto Community College in Pasadena, Texas offers an associate degree in radiography and a bachelor's degree in specializations such as magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, and more. To prepare for a career as a radiology technician, you can join a medical program at your school or look for opportunities to volunteer or work in the shade at local clinics and hospitals.
Radiology technicians play an important role in health care by administering diagnostic imaging tests, such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They prepare patients for diagnostic imaging procedures by making a medical history and answering questions about the procedure. They also prepare beverage blends for patients that create greater contrast for diagnostic imaging. The seven-semester program at San Jacinto Community College includes courses on radiographic procedures, radiographic imaging, anatomy, radiation protection and radiographic imaging equipment, along with four practical or field experiences. Radiology technicians must understand how to operate complicated medical machinery and must be compassionate and have a lot of patience, as they often work with patients who may be confused or in pain.
For the clinical experience component of the program, students are assigned to different centers each semester, but one semester is required at Virginia Medical Center or Houston Methodist Hospital.