Advanced screening techniques such as the X-ray and the MRI allow doctors to diagnose diseases and injuries and treat them before they advance to a dangerous stage. Working alongside these physicians is the imaging specialist, who utilizes both the imaging equipment and also makes sure that the imaging equipment is functioning properly.
Imaging specialists are skilled in the use of imaging devices such as the X-ray. These specialists must calibrate the imaging equipment for it to be used when diagnosing a patient. The imaging specialist also prepares patients for the procedure. Under supervision, the imaging specialist performs all imaging procedures. Imaging specialists test imaging equipment to make sure that it is functioning properly. These specialists engage in all preventative maintenance and repair.
Imaging specialists have to have good physical fitness, since they are expected to stay on their feet and lift patients when they are disabled. They usually work standard 40-hour work weeks. While these specialists mostly work in clinics, they sometimes travel to the homes of patients in large vans when the patients are unable to come to the clinic. Imaging specialists work with equipment that releases a lot of radiation. Lead equipment blocks most of the radiation, protecting the specialist. The cumulative exposure of the image specialist to radiation is recorded.
Imaging specialists require licenses in most states to use radiology equipment. The way that image specialists are licensed varies from state to state. Imaging specialists need a bachelor's or associate's degree in radiology technology. They need good interpersonal skills to work well with patients and must be sensitive to the needs of the patients.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 214,700 imaging specialists held jobs in 2008. Between 2008 and 2018, the need for imaging specialists is expected to grow 17 percent. The increase in the need for imaging specialists is expected to be driven by an aging Baby Boomer population, which will need more medical treatment. Also, new procedures and advancements in screening techniques will also fuel the need for imaging specialists.
The median earnings for imaging specialists in 2008 was $52,210, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest 10 percent of imaging specialists earned more than $74,970, while the lowest 10 percent of imaging specialists earned less than $35,100. The PayScale website reported that the annual earnings for imaging specialists ranged from $34,876 to $97,000.
- Photo Credit x-ray image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com
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