Usually when we think about radiology, our minds automatically go to x-rays and other scans and images, but that’s not all radiology is. Radiology also includes those professionals who snap the pictures of our insides and get a better look at what is going on in there—those medical workers are called rad techs, and yes, they are extremely rad (wink, wink).
A Day in the Life of a Rad Tech
The raddest rad techs in the field
Radiologic technologists, or rad techs as they’re more commonly known as, play a unique role in the medical industry. Experts in high-tech medical equipment, these professionals know the ins and outs of diagnostic imaging from operating the machinery to positioning the patient, rad techs do it all.
“Rad techs help doctors determine what is wrong with their patients,” said new rad tech traveler, Alisha. “We are important because, without us, nobody could see the broken bones or different pathologies that can be seen with x-rays. The radiology department is essential for good patient care and diagnosing different patient ailments.”
To become a radiologic technologist, you need an associate degree from a program that’s accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), certification by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists or from the state from where you’re practicing, plus special skills:
- Interpersonal skills. Although rad techs spend most of their time with machines, interpersonal skills are a must since rad techs also interact with patients and other professional medical workers.
- Patience. Patience is key when handling patients and technology. It may be frustrating to wait for an image to show up but remember what your mom said about making friends—it’s about quality, not quantity.
- Physical strength. Most of your day is spent on your feet as a rad tech, so you have to be comfortable with lots of standing and walking. Also, some upper body strength wouldn’t hurt when you’re lugging machines and equipment around the facility.
- Medical knowledge. Since rad techs take images of people’s insides, it’s helpful to know the human anatomy as a rad tech.
- Detail-oriented. It takes a surprising amount of attention to capture images of a specific body part. Being detailed-oriented helps techs take correct image the first time around.
You can find these rad medical techs in a bunch of different type of medical facilities across the country like hospitals, outpatient clinics, and more. While the general day-to-day tasks may be similar, every rad tech has a different daily experience depending on their work location.
At a glimpse, the typical day of a rad tech looks like this:
- Get instructions. Before rad techs can start imaging, they must first get directions from a physician on what part of patient’s body needs scanned.
- Check equipment. Just to be on the safe side, rad techs always double-check the equipment is in working condition and producing clear, accurate images.
- Prep patients. Now that you have your instructions and the machinery is working, it’s time to introduce yourself to the patient and get them ready for their scans. Rad techs supply the patient with a medical gown and help position the patient so they can get a good image.
- Operate equipment. With the patient in the proper scanning position, it’s time to get the image. During operation, rad techs wear protective gear to prevent them from radiation exposure.
- Review images. Once the imaging process is completed, rad techs review the image to make sure they’re clear enough for a physician to make a diagnosis.
- Print scans. Rad techs print patient scans, correctly label them, and file in the patient’s medical file for the doctor to analyze.
- Clean used machines. After the imaging process is done, it’s time to clean the equipment that was used so that it’s good to go for the next patient.
- Rinse and repeat.
“A typical workday is doing various x-rays on various patients, plus helping with different patient types, sizes, and personalities,” said Alisha. “You have to accommodate each specific patient and no two patients are the same at all. It can be crazy, but that’s the fun of it! Every day is different, every case is different, and every situation is different.”
A “rad travel life”
As a traveling rad tech, you’re already the behind-the-scenes photo icon in the medical world—you know all about being the elite paparazzi to your patients, and now it’s time for you to step into the spotlight of your own travel life.
“Traveling radiologic technology is a really a promising profession around the globe,” said rad tech graduate, D.C. “As far as I learned through my research, it is really one of the in-demand professions.”
If you’re wowed by these professionals, the time is now to jump into the rad tech life—by 2029, the demand is expected to grow at least 7 percent from 2019. Take your traveling medical career to the next level and confidently dive into new challenges headfirst.
“I never wanted to sit behind a desk,” said Alisha. “Rad tech life is challenging, but you’re always learning! I love to learn and get better at what I do. I love the challenges and working with patients for only a few minutes, then sending them on their way. I love patients and working with them in little spurts is my fave part of being a rad tech. I can be a little light in their bad day. Typically patients are sick and unwell or hurting, so being able to see them and help them feel better makes my day!”
Combine your travel life with your perfect career and enjoy the freedom to call your own shots. Pick a destination and check out available Radiology jobs in nearby cities!