California Radiologic Technologist Career Outlook
Today, the Radiologic Technologist Career Outlook in California is strong as the healthcare services they provide to countless institutions throughout the state provide invaluable insights into patient health. Healthcare facilities and centers within the Golden State rely on Radiologic Technologists to conduct imaging procedures, operate imaging equipment and produce diagnostic images of the human body. These digital imaging professionals, also called Rad Techs, provide these images for Physicians and Surgeons to use to diagnose medical illnesses and conditions. Due to the importance of their work and an increase in demand, hundreds of radiologic technology positions are expected to open over the next decade in California and the greater United States.
Today, California is the top paying state for Radiologic Technologists. More specifically, Rad Techs in this state can expect to earn approximately $38.97 per hour and $81,060 per year. While the lowest ten percent of these workers earn less than $40,630 annually, the highest earning ten percent are paid over $86,350 each year. Within the state, Radiologic Technologists in Los Angeles tend to earn the most, followed by Oakland, then San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento. Overall, Rad Techs are among the highest paid healthcare career professionals for whom a two-year degree is commonly accepted.
According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, the radiologic technology profession has considerably expanded over the last two decades. As technological advancements continue to improve the quality of imaging devices, Rad Techs are able to help patients better address symptoms with early detection through their images. These advancements have led radiologic technology equipment to become more efficient, generate less heat and become smaller and more easily transportable in the process. With an aging population, there has also been an increasing demand for radiologic technology as an alternative to invasive surgery.
Among the list of 20 “fastest growing occupations,” Radiologic Technologists have become essential staff members at hospitals, offices, clinics and other healthcare facilities. Reflecting this demand, the employment of Rad Techs within California is projected to grow by over 2,000 positions! This will result in hundreds of new full-time and part-time employment opportunities across the state of California. The rest of the country is expected to see a 13 percent rise in employment over the next decade. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.
California is also the state with the highest employment level within this occupation! The state presently employs over 17,360 Radiologic Technologists, not including those who are self-employed. In addition, the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration rests at 0.72.
Of these employees,12,500 are reported to work specifically within the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA area. This is partially because this region is home to some of the most renowned medical institutions and biomedical research centers in the country and offers excellent career opportunities in all areas of allied health.
To enter this non-invasive career in healthcare, prospective Rad Techs must pursue either a certificate program, associate degree or bachelor’s degree program. Typically, a certificate program will take one year to complete, whereas an associate’s degree will take two years. A bachelor’s degree will take approximately four years to obtain.
Finding the Right Radiologic Technology Program
Once enrolled in a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) approved radiologic technology program, students will learn the concepts and skills needed to succeed in this field. Therefore most curriculums include courses on anatomy, vascular technology procedures, laboratory imaging and medical terminology. Many programs seek to ensure that its students are prepared for the many functions of office environments as well.
According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, these are some of the essential questions to ask before selecting a radiologic technology program:
- Is the program accredited by the CAAHEP?
- If the program is not accredited by CAAHEP, are graduates still eligible to take certification examinations?
- What is the certification examination pass rate of students who have graduated from this program?
- What is the cost and length of the program?
- What degree is awarded upon completing the program?
- What percentage of graduates achieves employment in radiologic technology within six months of graduation?
There are also a number of different specializations when it comes to radiologic technology. Rad Techs certified in more than one specialty can expect to experience the best opportunities. Through passing the corresponding examination, specialty options include x-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging.
What Does a Radiologic Technologist Do?
In the field, Radiologic Technologists will use these skills to manipulate instruments to image the parts of the patient’s body that are being examined. Radiologic technology is essential in early detection of some cancers, tumors, masses, blot clots and other conditions within the abdomen, breast, heart and blood vessels or of musculoskeletal nature.
Image quality has also been dramatically improved through more precise equipment settings. However operating radiologic technology equipment still takes a lot of training and practice in order to be done correctly. Today, careers in healthcare favor solutions which are cost and time efficient, pushing ultrasound into the point-of-care setting. The practice also known to cost less than an MRI, further pushing healthcare reform to favor the widespread adoption of radiologic technology.
Employment as a Radiologic Technologist
Also important to consider when seeking employment in this occupation, the specific industries which employ the highest number of Radiologic Technologists include general medical and surgical hospitals, the offices of Physicians, medical and diagnostic laboratories, outpatient care centers and specialty hospitals.Then, the industry with the highest concentration of Rad Techs is reported to be medical and diagnostic laboratories, followed by general medical and surgical hospitals, Physician offices, outpatient care centers and specialty hospitals.
Alternatively, few Rad Techs choose to be self-employed, but the number who are expected to rise significantly over the next decade. Others find employment in administrative and support services, colleges and universities, ambulatory care services and temporary health services. Most employers of Radiologic Technologists tend to offer employee benefits like insurance, holiday pay and paid time off.
When actively seeking employment, Radiologic Technologists should know that many find work in urban areas, such as New York City and Los Angeles. To identify open positions, they must check job boards, network with healthcare professionals and connect with members of radiologic technology associations and organizations. Some key professional groups in this industry include the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists.
Why Radiologic Technology is Such a Reward Career
Through these connections, prospective Radiologic Technologist will witness the reward associated with this position. Being able to help patients prioritize their health and reach successful, potentially life-saving outcomes is satisfying and extremely fulfilling. In this career there exists the opportunity for ultrasound career development and the satisfaction of working as part of a dedicated team of healthcare professionals.
Working with a wide array of medical cases also enables Rad Techs to help many people of all ages. They rely on their Radiologic Technologist to guide them through the imaging experience while providing a sense of ease. A successful Radiologic Technologist will utilize their skills of compassion and care together to meet goals. At the end of the day, whether a Rad Tech wants to advance their career for prove their effectiveness, continuous dedication to education is key.
Overall, now is a great time to become a Radiologic Technologist in California! If you aspire to work in healthcare, help make a difference in patients’ lives and constantly keep learning and evolving as a professional, you will love an ultrasound career!
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook