Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun
September 21, 2012
Erin Cordray is radiography program director at Community College of Baltimore County.
What does a radiographer's job entail?
Radiography uses X-ray radiation to create images of the tissues, organs, bones and vessels that make up the human body. Most people are familiar with chest x-rays and also know that x-rays are the best way to diagnose broken bones. The radiographer (x-ray technologist) produces x-ray images of human anatomy for the physician to read and make a diagnosis.
What kind of schooling or training did you go through?
Through a combination of classroom and clinical education, students learn to operate x-ray equipment, produce x-ray images of human anatomy, position patients for x-ray procedures, practice radiation safety and deliver patient care. The curriculum is designed to meet the accreditation standards of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Graduates of the Radiography program are eligible to apply to take the national certification exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
What inspired you to this career?
As a patient myself at a young age, I realized that patients need the very best radiographic image in order for the doctor to make an accurate diagnosis. This is crucial, as the radiograph acts as the eyes of the doctor without having to do surgery. Everyone needs an x-ray at one time or another, and the image must be of the very best quality technically and the patient must be treated with the utmost respect mentally. The combination of excellent patient care and handling highly technical equipment drew me to this career. I wanted to help people.
What do you like best about your job?
Working in a healthcare setting, a radiographer is part of the healthcare team with a crucial function. Teamwork is mandatory for saving lives and helping people in general.
What are the challenges?
The biggest challenge to radiographers is keeping up with technology as it changes. Most every diagnostic x-ray room is now digital. Also, it is very important these days for a radiographer to have credentials in other modalities, such as Computed Tomography or MRI. Most employers want radiographers who can perform more than one modality.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average national salary for a radiographer is $56,760.