You may already be familiar with the term radiology technician, but what is a radiology assistant? The official role of radiology assistant is a relatively new thing. Only established in 2002 by the Advance Practice Advisory Panel, a radiology assistant is considered an advanced level radiology technician who can manage and educate patients, as well as make initial observations. The list below are typical duties of a radiology assistant, as described by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Typical Tasks for a Radiology Assistant:
- Determine the appropriateness of a specific exam or procedure based on a patients medical record and conditions (pregnancy, heart conditions, etc).
- Verify and keep current the patient’s medical history.
- Be the primary source of communication for the patient. This includes procedure explanations, obtaining informed consent, and any follow-ups.
- Make sure the patient has followed all pre-procedure instructions (diet, medications, etc).
- Perform a physical exam for appropriate body parts and relay the information to the radiologist.
- Administer appropriate sedation and medication prescribed by the radiologist, then assess patient under sedation.
- Administer any fluoroscopic examinations
- Generate any scans (this includes CT scans, MRI, or anything else the radiologist deems appropriate).
- Evaluate scans for quality and perform any necessary processing (3D reconstruction, slice spacing, volume rendering, etc).
- Provide the radiologist with these high-quality completed scans.
- Make initial observations to the radiologist only
- Record and relay the radiologists report to the referring physician when necessary.
- Provide any post-procedure evaluations or follow-ups.
What a Radiology Assistant Does Not Do:
- Does not do any official interpretation of scans
- Cannot perform certain radiological procedures without supervision from the radiologist.
Based on these descriptions, a radiology assistant can be considered the “right hand man/woman” to the radiologist. Although they cannot do any of the higher level duties of a radiologist, they are responsible for a lot of the grunt work involved in diagnosing and treating a patient.
Requirements to Become a Radiology Assistant.
According to the site CareersAndEducation.com, there are 29 states that license radiology assistants. To become licensed, you must first pass all of the requirements of a radiology technician, and then a radiology technologist. Once these requirements are achieved, additional schooling is needed. There are a handful of schools that currently offer this training, and a bachelors degree is required to be hired as an assistant.
Here is more information of the steps on how to become a radiology assistant.
How Much Does a Radiology Assistant Make?
Based on these radiology assistant salary numbers, most certified radiology assistants make around $100,000 per year. Although this is pale in comparison to a radiologist MD, it is a healthy raise from a radiology technologist.