You know you want to work in the medical field. You know you want to help people. You’re drawn to the sciences, but you also know you don’t want to be a nurse or doctor.
If you’re drawn more to the technology side of the medical field, then you have some options! Let’s explore two common choices.
Med Tech Jobs
Medical technology jobs are an excellent option for people who want to work in the medical field, but not as a physician. Radiology technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers are two common professions. Both provide crucial imaging services to physicians for diagnosing and treating conditions.
Hospitals are the main employers of both, but the setting and equipment involved for both covers a wide scope. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Radiology Tech Jobs
Radiologists work with x-ray machines, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment to create images of musculoskeletal structures. Radiology techs use this equipment to identify broken bones, tumors, blood clots, and more.
Working with the equipment in this field means regular radiation exposure. Technologists have to wear badges to measure their exposure and use shielding devices for protection, so you’ll want to weigh that when evaluating where you want to work.
If you want to work as a radiology tech, you’ll need strong technical and mathematical skills to work the machinery. You’ll need to be detail-oriented so you can handle the equipment. While administering the lowest possible dose of radiation to your patients.
Sonographers use high-frequency sound waves to create images called sonograms of internal matter. These devices do not use radiation and are therefore safer to work with, which is also why they are safe to use on expecting mothers. And yes, the ultrasound technology used is similar to echolocation techniques employed by animals like bats and whales.
Sonographers can use their equipment to monitor baby development and positioning during pregnancy, to examine blood vessels and internal organs, to detect gallstones, and more.
If you choose to pursue sonography, you have the option to specialize in abdominal, cardiac and musculoskeletal. As well as pediatric, breast, vascular and obstetric, and gynecologic sonography. Regardless of your specialty, you’ll need strong critical thinking skills for evaluating techniques for the various diagnostic procedures.
Comparing Radiology and Sonography
The field of radiology is significantly larger than sonography. Perhaps due to this higher demand for the profession, sonographers tend to make a higher wage. The national average salary for radiology technologists is around $60,000 while the average salary for sonographers is closer to $72,000.
Both technologists interact directly with patients, educating them about the procedures, reassuring them, offering comfort, and positioning patients properly to capture accurate images. Techs need to have strong personal and communication skills.
Working as a medical tech in either field requires an associate’s degree, although further education opens up many doors for both. Radiologists must be licensed in their state to operate equipment that emits radiation. And some positions will call for certain certifications. Sonographers may need licenses and certifications, depending on what state and field they are in.