There are a lot of other careers you could have after becoming an x-ray technician if you grow bored or dissatisfied with your occupation. Many of them require more than a professional certificate or associate’s degree, but there is a wide range of healthcare jobs out there. You could work in healthcare administration, you could earn your nursing degree, or you could enter another healthcare field like insurance. Two clear paths that you could take after becoming a radiologic technician (although they require significantly more schooling) are to become a full-fledged radiologist or to join a school’s faculty and start teaching radiology.
Radiologist are physicians who have specialized in the area of reading x-ray, MRI, CT, and/or other types of imaging scans. They interpret the images to detect abnormalities and diagnose problems. A radiologist might need to detect something as simple as a broken bone from an x-ray or something as complex as a neurological disorder from a brain MRI. Many radiologists also deliver radiation treatments for illnesses such as cancer. Like many other physicians, radiologists have to order and review tests, recommend treatments and design treatment plans, and answer any concerns that patients may have. They oversee the work of radiologic technicians, and may delegate certain responsibilities (such as answering patients’ questions) to the technician. If you start out as a radiologic technician, you will have a good foundation of knowledge. You will be in the best position to move on and become a radiologist if you have already completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Even after obtaining a B.S. degree you will still have to go to medical school, complete an internship, and participate in a several yearlong residency before you can practice as a radiologist. Physicians and surgeons typically make around $166,000 ($80/hour) or more a year.
If, when you were in school, you sat in your classrooms admiring how much your teachers knew and how well they were able to instruct others, you might one day consider becoming a teacher yourself. You will be able to utilize all your knowledge of radiology to teach others about to be radiologic technicians. Typically, being a postsecondary teacher requires that you have a PhD, which takes many years to complete, but this is not always true. Teachers who work at vocational schools or community colleges often don’t need more than a master’s degree, which can be completed with two years of coursework after obtaining your B.S. And because radiologic technologist programs are often offered by vocational and community colleges, it is not unlikely that you would find work in this setting. You will be best suited for transitioning into this career path if, when studying to become a radiologic technician, you earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. There is a wide range of salaries for postsecondary teachers, because the category includes everyone from teaching assistants to tenured professors teaching complex subjects. The range of salaries is from $30,720 to $130,510, with the average being $62,050.