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A radiographer works in the medical field using radiation imaging technology like X-ray machinery to produce pictures of various internal body tissues. Radiographers typically work alone, without assistants. However, it is possible for radiographers to earn a significant bump up in salary by obtaining additional certification, allowing them to move up to the position of radiologist assistant.
Radiographers are trained in physiology, anatomy and radiographic techniques, including positioning and radiation protection. Radiography education can include a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor's degree, depending on the school and the program you enroll in. Radiographers typically work directly with patients in the radiation labs of hospitals or other medical facilities.
The salary for a radiographer varies, depending on what type of technology you specialize in. According to the American Medical Association, in 2010, the salary for X-ray technicians ranged between $41,612 and $81,136. The rates for ultrasound technicians were similar. Meanwhile, MRI and nuclear medicine technicians earned a bit more. In 2010, the range for MRI technicians was $48,371 to $83,638, while nuclear medicine technicians earned between $56,400 and $95,906.
Registered Radiologist Assistant
To work as a registered radiologist assistant (RA), you must complete a master's degree and then obtain certification from the American Society of Radiological Technologists. Radiologist assistants work to assist a Radiologist M.D. An RA has three general responsibilities. Like a radiographer, they work directly with the patient, answering questions and preparing them for radiological examinations. In addition, an RA will sometimes perform radiological examinations under the supervision of the radiologist. Finally, an RA is responsible for evaluating the results of examinations and forwarding these observations to the radiologist for further assessment.
Registered Radiologist Assistant Salary
According to the American Medical Association, RA salaries averaged $102,972 in 2008, with top earners earning up to $112,615. The reason RAs earn significantly higher pay on average than radiographers has to do with the fact that this position requires much more education as well as special certification. Additionally, RAs are assigned higher levels of responsibility.
Donald Harder has been writing financial-related articles since 2000 when he founded the firm Securities Research Services. He has worked as a speech writer for the U.S. Department of Justice and written white papers and studies for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Harder holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from George Washington University.