Radiology Jobs and Career Outlook

Radiology has advanced by leaps and bounds as a medical science in the past years. Physicians use radiation to image internal systems in order to diagnose illnesses, injuries, and genetic disorders. X-rays and ultrasounds are commonly used in every type of medicine from dentistry to obstetrics. More and more, physicians and their colleagues are using radiation to treat patients, especially those with cancer. The list of radiology jobs is long and encompasses every education range, from high school graduates with technical certifications to postgraduates with advanced medical degrees. Jobs with higher education requirements invariably pay degree holders higher salaries.

Radiologists are physicians specializing in the use of radiology for treatment and diagnosis. They go to medical school after completing an undergraduate degree. After earning a degree in medicine, a radiologist will get further training, specializing in diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating patients using radiation. They often specialize in the treatment of cancer, as this is one of the main areas of radiation therapy. Specialists are often in demand because of the extra schooling they receive. In addition, they may receive a premium in pay for their specialized knowledge. They often receive patients on referral from primary care physicians.

Radiation therapists who use radiation to treat cancer do so by using machines that emit radiation into the body. When it is directed at cancer cells, radiation damages the genetic material within, preventing them from replicating. Because radiation has this effect on non-cancerous cells as well, radiation therapists must be highly trained and proficient. Another type of treatment, called brachytherapy, involves injecting radioactive into cancer cells.

Radiologic technologists are responsible for using x-ray machines and other radiation-based technology for diagnostic imaging. They use x-rays or sound waves that bounce off of the internal organs and systems of the human body. When they return they provide an image of the structure being examined that can identify represent improper functioning due to illness or injury. Radiation jobs that involve imaging often require less schooling. Many radiologic technologists work with an associateís degree or a bachelorís degree.

Medical sonographers work primarily with ultrasound equipment. Similar to an x-ray but using sound waves rather than radiation, ultrasound is a technology used to take a picture of the soft tissues inside the body to find incongruities that mean illness or injury. Medical sonographers often work for obstetrics/gynecology departments, but they also work in general medicine, surgery, and other fields.

Another radiology job that involves imaging involves nuclear medicine. Nuclear medicine technologists use a special kind of pharmaceutical. They administer it into the patientsí bloodstreams. The pharmaceuticals are irradiated and they can be detecting by an imaging device. The amount of radiation that gathers around a certain area of the body can be detected and displayed using advanced technology. Areas of high or low radiation can mark abnormalities in the internal architecture. Nuclear medicine technologists administer tests and help interpret them. They generally have an associateís degree or a bachelorís degree in their specialty.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014