With a planned start in July 2019, the Radiologic Technology program is an outstanding addition to the health-related educational programs that Western Suffolk BOCES offers to Long Island’s adults.
Medical Radiologic Technologists (Radiographers) are an integral part of the allied health care team, working in hospitals, clinics, outpatient and medical specialty environments. Radiography is both an art and science using ionizing radiation to provide diagnostic images of the human body’s organs, bones and blood vessels. A radiographer applies ionizing radiation in the form of x-rays to create images of the human body for use in diagnosing medical conditions. The medical radiographer works closely with the radiologist, a physician who interprets diagnostic images to render a diagnosis.
As members of the health care team, radiographers are responsible for obtaining the highest quality images, while promoting compassionate care, protection and insuring the well-being of the patients entrusted to their care. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, compassionate patient interaction, accurate patient positioning, and patient assessment, radiation protection of the patient and personnel, utilizing proper technical factors and handling all radiographic equipment in a competent manner.
Because medical radiographers are often dealing with people in physical and/or emotional pain, radiographers must be sensitive to the overall needs of the patient. In addition, they must be detail-oriented, able to follow the physician’s directions explicitly and committed to accurately documenting and maintaining patient records. Operating complicated equipment requires mechanical ability and manual dexterity, while long periods of standing and lifting patients require physical stamina.
Potential radiation hazards exist in this field. Education and protective equipment, such as lead gloves and aprons and other shielding devices, minimize exposure. Technologists wear monitoring badges that measure radiation levels in their work area. Detailed records are kept on their cumulative lifetime radiation doses and action occurs if any concern arises.
Employment Outlook and Opportunities
Radiographers may work in full- or part-time positions, and since most hospitals never close, weekend, evening and night shift hours are sometimes required. Some radiographers specialize in advanced diagnostic imaging technologies such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) following successful completion of an approved program in Radiologic Technology and passing the ARRT registry examination.
An increasingly aging population requiring diagnostic services should spur job growth for radiographers, according to the Federal Office of Labor Statistics* which projected the field of Radiologic Technology to grow 12 percent–an additional 32,000 radiographers–from 2016 through 2026 nationwide, faster than the average for all health care occupations. Those with additional credentials, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR), mammography (M) or with multiple skills, will find more job opportunities available to them.
Hospitals should remain the chief employer of technologists; however, more physicians’ offices and clinics, including diagnostic imaging centers, are expected to employ greater numbers of radiographers. It should also be noted that many of the “Baby Boomer” generation are beginning to age out of the field of radiologic technology providing more opportunity for employment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2016, radiographers nationwide earn an average annual pay of $60,610, and a mean hourly wage of $29.14. In New York State, the annual mean wage is $67,400 or $32.40 per hour.
State law requires that all radiographers who work in the state of New York obtain a Radiologic License from the State of New York Department of Health. After graduation from an accredited radiography program, students are eligible to take the ARRT registry exam. Upon successfully passing the exam, they are eligible to apply for Radiographic Licensure through the State of New York Department of Health.