Take Your Technology Career to Radiology
By Wendy J. Meyeroff Monster Contributing Writer
With technology jobs being cut or offshored, many information technology professionals are contemplating opportunities in healthcare, where advanced technology is playing an increasingly large role in diagnosing and treating patients.
One area that’s drawing the interest of IT pros is radiologic technology (RT), which is expected to generate jobs at a healthy rate for several years.
So what does it take to move from IT into RT? Will your IT skills make a transition into rad tech careers easier? Healthcare experts say not necessarily. Moving from IT to RT represents a full-blown career change that will mean going back to school, meeting continuing-education (CE) requirements and, most importantly, developing the medical knowledge and patient-interaction skills of a healthcare professional.
“Some [RT] jobs are more computer-intensive than others,” says Margaret Millar, director of patient services of diagnostic and interventional imaging at Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City. However, experts agree that RT jobs usually involve more than just staring at a computer screen.
If you’ve ever had an image taken of the inside of your body — via ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging, for instance — you have a radiologic technologist to thank for it. Radiologic technologists fall into four general areas: radiographers, sonographers, nuclear medicine technologists and radiation therapists.
While RT vacancy rates are down from the national high of 18 percent reported in 2000, the personnel shortage is hardly over. That’s prompted many employers to woo RTs with sign-on bonuses, relocation assistance, flextime and other incentives. What’s more, employment in the field is expected to grow faster-than-average between 2002 and 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Sound good? Before taking the plunge, make sure RT is right for you. To start, get a basic understanding of the many rad tech careers. The American Society of Radiologic Technologists’ site offers basic descriptions. Consult RT professionals in different specialties. Ask why they chose their specific field and what they would do differently. Such questions will help you focus your training.
In addition, ask your local hospital or community college about job shadowing an RT for a day to get a real-life taste of what the job involves.