With baby-boomers getting older, healthcare practitioners expect they may see an increase in certain medical condition, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, which depend upon imaging for making diagnoses.
Because trained professionals are needed to obtain the needed images, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment growth for radiologic technicians will rise by 12 percent through 2026 – faster than the average for all occupations. Meanwhile, the BLS expects employment of MRI technologists could rise slightly faster – 14 percent.
The BLS estimates more than 30,000 new radiologic and MRI technicians will be needed during the 10 years from 2016 to 2026.
Radiologic technicians, also called radiographers, conduct diagnostic imaging exams of patients, such as x-rays. MRI technologists create diagnostic images through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. CT (computed tomography) scans are quickly becoming a frontline diagnostic tool instead of taking x-rays first to determine whether a CT is needed. Technologists may want to consider credentialing in CT, MRI, or both to increase their marketability.
Employment growth for these professionals will naturally arise from the need for expanded healthcare services, but they also will be needed to replace radiographers and MRI technologists who retire or leave the field. Technicians with knowledge of more than one imaging procedure, such as CT, MRI or mammography, will be in highest demand as employers seek to hold down their costs through the use of multi-credentialed professionals.
As the technology evolves, many pieces of imaging equipment are getting less expensive, making them more affordable for clinics and physician’s offices. Still, most radiologic technicians will find themselves working in hospitals. Most states require radiologic technicians to be licensed, but even where licenses are not required, many employers prefer their imaging technologists to have a license.
If you’re looking for a career that you enjoy…and you like helping people in a healthcare setting, becoming a radiologic technologist might start you down the path toward a rewarding experience. Fortis offers radiologic technology programs at campuses in Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. Go to our Radiologic Technology program page to learn more about becoming an imaging professional or find the campus nearest to you.