What They Don't Tell You in the Radiologic Technologist Job Description

female radiologic technologist talking to a boy and his mom

Have you ever looked back at the original job posting of a job you ended up landing? Chances are good there were a lot of details missing about what the position actually entailed. Job descriptions are designed to give a taste of the technical aspects of the job, but they just can’t capture it all.

The same applies for positions in healthcare. So how can you really know what you’re getting into?

That’s where we come in. We connected with Crystal Bromeling, veteran radiologic technologist and program coordinator at Rasmussen College, to dig into the details you might not find in a typical radiologic technologist job description.

Turns out, it’s not all just about imaging. Keep reading to gather some inside insight on the position.

5 important things you won’t find in the radiologic technologist job description

1. Interpersonal skills are incredibly important

Sure, a large part of your training and job revolves around operating and maintaining sensitive radiography equipment. But good people skills are just as vital. Bromeling says that during her schooling she didn’t expect to interact with patients nearly as much as she has as a radiologic technologist. There are time where patients are going to share deeply personal information. You need to be ready to offer support regardless of how your day is going.

“I never knew I would need to be a counselor, but it happens a lot when patients are fearful of the outcome of their exam or when explaining how they received an injury,” Bromeling says. She stresses the importance of being compassionate as a radiographer. “You will need to listen to patient stories when they feel you’re a safe person to tell.”

2. Quality beats speed

"Stay calm, take good images and speed will come with time."

The images captured by a radiologic technologist play an important role in the diagnosis and overall care of a patient. It can be tempting to move quickly in the face of a growing patient load, especially when first starting out. But you’re much better off being methodical and getting it right on the first attempt.

“Remember, you will be slow at first and that’s okay,” Bromeling says. “Stay calm, take good images and speed will come with time.” She adds that you should never rush through an exam for any reason.

3. It isn’t boring

You might assume the day-to-day life of a radiologic technologist involves a stream of uneventful examinations for relatively routine injuries like broken arms and legs. But don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s dull.

“As a radiologic technologist, you will never have the same work day,” Bromeling explains.

She says one of the biggest surprises for her as she entered the field was that radiographers go into surgery and are present operating radiographic equipment during invasive procedures. Surgery--no matter how you slice it--is a pretty intense experience, so don’t expect monotony.

4. Not every procedure will be ‘by the book’

Fresh out of a radiologic technologist program, it’s only natural to rely on your previous experience and what you’ve learned in class. However, the ‘real world’ doesn’t always fit nicely into those classroom scenarios.

"Critical thinking is a must for this profession."

“There are very few patients who are like the book,” Bromeling says. “Critical thinking is a must for this profession.” This ability to think on your feet is something that isn’t exactly clear in the radiologic technologist job description.

It’s just a hard truth. There are far too many human variables for your schooling to cover every possible situation with a step-by-step guide. Because of this, your ability to adapt to different patients and environments is vital. By having a strong understanding of the fundamental, technical factors that go into producing an image, you should be well-prepared to handle these unanticipated variables.

5. There’s room for growth

You might think that a radiologic technologist position is one in which you land the job and continue working on generally the same stuff until you retire. But that thinking greatly underestimates your career potential in this field.

For example, Bromeling’s personal experience includes time working in surgical radiography, mammography, computed tomography and sonography. This is only a portion of the possibilities. Radiologic technologists are needed in nearly every healthcare setting and there’s a wide variety of specializations to explore and advance into.

Ready to launch a radiologic technologist career?

Now that we’ve explored some of things that may not exactly be printed in a radiologic technologist job description, are you feeling confident? With a median annual salary of $56,670 and faster-than-average job growth, there’s plenty of good reasons to get excited about starting a radiologic technologist career.1

What’s even better? This position doesn’t require a four-year degree! That means you could find yourself in an exciting, stable healthcare career in as few as 24 months.2 If this information has piqued your interest, learn more about the perks of this position in our article: 6 Advantages of Being a Radiologic Technologist You Can’t Ignore.

1Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
2Completion time is dependent on the number of courses completed each term.


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Will Erstad

Will is a Sr. Content Specialist at Collegis Education. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen College. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.


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