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Second-Career RTs: Strategies for Making a Successful Transition

Second-Career RTs: Strategies for Making a Successful Transition

By Cindy Mehallow, Monster Contributing Writer

Proper Transition Strategies Ensure Success

While finding an RT job can be easier than gaining the necessary credentials, Coles, Firicano and Van Travelstead, another RT career changer, built their success on a few key strategies:

Provide a Sneak Preview

Use your clinical rotations or part-time positions to showcase your work habits and technical skills. “The techs and managers get to know you, and a lot of the interview process is not needed after that,” Firicano says.

Prepare for the Future

When knee injuries forced Travelstead to leave his position as a UPS driver at age 40, he entered the radiologic sciences program at Southern Illinois University (SIU). Over the next decade, he earned bachelor’s degrees in both radiologic sciences and healthcare management, credits toward a master’s degree in workforce education (“in case I wanted to teach”) and an advanced degree in computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (CT/MRI) through a program offered jointly by SIU and Vanderbilt.

“As the biblical saying goes, I had to ‘gird my loins,’” Travelstead quips. He hoped his extensive credentials would make him an appealing candidate, ensure career longevity and open doors to management positions: “I didn’t want there to be any reason for an employer not to hire me.”

How Healthy Are Your Networking Skills?

1. How important are first impressions?

They can make or break an interview
I can always make myself look better if I screw up at first
I don’t worry about that. I look better on paper anyway

Build a Reputation

Travelstead “squeezed everything” he could out of his schooling, impressing his professors in the process. He earned an academic scholarship from SIU’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts as well as an award for being the top radiologic sciences student.

Not surprisingly, Travelstead found that not once, but twice, SIU radiologic sciences program director Steve Jensen, PhD, RT, passed his name on to employers seeking to fill vacancies. Travelstead now serves as chief MRI technologist at the Southern Illinois Orthopedic Center, where he outearns colleagues with more experience but less education.

This article originally appeared on Monster Career Advice.

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