Radiology Assistant Job & Career Outlook
What is the projected career outlook for radiology assistants?
Radiology assistant jobs continue to grow in demand throughout the United States. In fact, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to the average growth of all other occupations combined, professionals working in radiology will experience an employment growth rate 17% faster between 2008 and 2018.
This growth trend is the result of a number of factors. First, the nation’s population is continuing to grow; therefore, more radiology assistants are required to accommodate the health care needs of more individuals.
Do I need to become certified to be a radiology assistant?Not all radiology assistants must be nationally certified to practice in the United States. Mandatory certification is largely dependent on the state in which you intend to gain employment. According to the ASRT, the twenty-eight states that currently require radiology assistants to comply with licensure, certification, or recognition standards are: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
However, even radiology assistants that do not work in a state where certification is required are encouraged to eventually do so. In general, getting certified as a registered radiology assistant (RRA) is likely to increase job marketability, heighten salary earnings, allow greater ease in relocation, illustrate professionalism, promote job security, and prove occupational commitment.
How can I get certified as a radiology assistant?All radiology assistants need to complete several steps in order to become nationally certified by the ARRT. The first step is to become certified and registered by the ARRT in radiography. The second step is to gain at least one year of approved clinical experience working as a radiographer. The third step is to graduate from an ARRT-approved radiology assistant program. Another step is to earn at least a baccalaureate degree. The next step is to complete all didactic coursework and clinical requirements in accordance with current ARRT standards. Also, all radiology assistants must be in good ethical standing with the ARRT (e.g. no criminal convictions, military court martials, school honor code violations, etc.).
Once these requirements have been met, radiology assistants may become eligible to sit for the Registered Radiology Assistant Examination administered by the ARRT which will cover the following six subjects: 1) Patient Communication, Assessment, and Management 2) Drugs and Contrast Materials 3) Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology 4) Radiologic Procedures 5) Radiation Safety, Radiation Biology, Fluoroscopic Operation 6) Medical/Legal, Professional, and Governmental Standards.
If examination is successfully passed, certification as a registered radiology assistant is granted. Recertification requires fifty continuing education credits every two years.
Where can radiology assistants find jobs?Radiology assistants can basically find jobs anywhere that patients receive radiology services. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top five industries employing radiology workers in 2008 were as follows: medical and diagnostic laboratories, the federal executive branch, general and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, and offices of physicians.
Other places where radiology assistants typically hold careers are in health care facilities, private and public medical clinics, medical schools and universities, diagnostic imaging centers, home health centers, emergency care units, cancer centers, offices of specialized practitioners and professional associations.
Radiologist assistants may also work in areas of research, education, product development, and marketing.