TouchStone Enterprises, LLC
101 California Street Suite 1920
San Francisco, CA 94111
Telephone: (415) 400-5137
Email: [email protected]
Why was the radiology assistant position created? Prior to 2002, there was only the position of radiologic technologist and radiology technicians, aside from the licensed radiologist, as part of the diagnostic imaging team. As the population continued to age and technological advancements to diagnose medical conditions increased, job opportunities grew. Yet, the number of workers dropped. It was an industry concern that needed to be addressed quickly.
How Much Can you Earn?
Technicians in the field of radiology felt there was little chance of advancement in their career. This was the primary reason why they searched for better opportunities in the health care field, in particularly training to become a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. Learning new imaging modalities was the only kind of advancement offered but in terms of progressing to a higher level of responsibilities, there was little growth possibilities.
Thus was born the radiology assistant. These professionals are trained to work more closely with the radiologist, and aside from assisting with more advanced imaging procedures, are also trained to make preliminary observations on images taken, although not on an official capacity. Instead, they prepare the reports stating the quality of images, their observations, and offering possible treatment, which help the radiologist tremendously in his job.
The advanced level of duties and responsibilities also gave them recognition for their abilities and capabilities as a member of the diagnostic imaging team, including better compensation. Today, the average radiology assistant salary is $95,000 to $100,000. At the entry level, they can make a minimum of $80,000.
Who Can Become a RA?
The minimum eligibility requirements to become a radiology assistant come in the form of training and experience. To qualify for an advance level position, you need specialized education. So the first thing required for admission into any of the radiology assistant programs in a university or college is work experience as a radiologic technologist — at least for one year. This means you already have prior training to have qualified for the job and are a registered radiologic technologist (RRT).
With the experience component complied with, you then need to complete at least a bachelors degree program in radiology assistance from any of the accredited radiology assistant schools. The American Registry of Radiology Technologists is very specific that the curriculum includes a certain number of didactic and clinical training that must be completed. Clinical components must be supervised by a radiologist mentor/preceptor. More importantly, a student is required to maintain, during the entire training, a portfolio that documents all competencies and experiences.
The culmination of your educational preparation is the five-hour exam administered by the ARRT to become a registered radiology assistant. Ace this and you’re ready to be the right hand man of the radiologist, working in a hospital, private clinic and other medical facilities.
What Are your Tasks as a Radiology Assistant?
In your new position, you still get to do things you performed as radiologic technologist, including preparing patients for diagnostic imaging procedures and explaining it to them. Positioning, manipulating and actually operating the equipment are still your job. But this time, you are called to do more, sometimes just supervised by the radiologist or assisting him directly. And you are now tasked to prepare reports for patients following each procedure.
The importance of your role in the team cannot be overemphasized, particularly because it lessens the burden on the primary physician. So it is critical that you are able to work individually and as a team player, are organized and detail-oriented, and have excellent communication skills to help put patients at ease.
Whether you are looking at the xray of a lung, observing septal thickening or seeing nodules, the complexity of your responsibilities has increased. But you are guaranteed both the respect and proper remuneration as a professional and your invaluable contribution to health care because of what you do. If you want to take the next step in diagnostic imaging, then consider becoming a radiology assistant.
Many people make a conscious decision to change career paths at some point in their lives. If their new career goals involve training, it can be difficult to fit both their current position and their educational needs in to their schedules. It’s often impossible to leave the job you now have to pursue schooling full-time. This is especially true of people who are parents or those who have a mortgage or car payment to tend to. If you are interested in a career as a doctor’s assistant, then a medical assisting online course is perfect for you.
Benefits of Online Medical Assistant Courses
One of the most appealing things about becoming a medical assistant online course is that you can do it when you want. There are no strict guidelines that suggest that you have to be in school at a certain time each day. Instead you can work at your regular position and then take the online training classes at your own convenience. If you are focused and can devote a few hours to the training material on a daily basis, you should expect to become a doctor’s assistant in as little as six weeks.
Most of the medical assistant training that is provided via the online route is restricted to the clerical duties that a typical assistant would take on in a medical environment. These can include anything from booking appointments, to updating client charts to preparing insurance forms. The coursework is designed to prepare the medical assistant online so that when they have received their diploma they are ready to enter the workforce.
The certification an individual receives after completing one of the many medical assisting online training courses that are available will enable them to take on medical assistant jobs immediately. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try and complete the course work as soon as possible. Many people only devote time to their studies during the weekends, although this may be the most convenient approach in terms of time it will take longer to finish the work. Deciding to focus on the work for a couple of hours each evening can help shorten the time it takes and will result in certification happening much sooner.
When looking for a medical assisting online training course it’s important to choose a program that is recognized by the state in which you reside. You can do this by inquiring with the company that hosts the course. In most cases they will actually state on their website their credentials. They will also specify how payments can be received and arranged. Many people find it helpful to pay for their training in monthly installments as opposed to a lump sum payment. Ask if this is an option when you first sign up for the program.
With the economic situation such as it is, people are looking for jobs that have a bit of job security, or for jobs for which there tend to be a lot of positions available so that it is less likely they will end up without a job for any length of time. One job that fits these requirements is that of a medical assistant. Depending on how soon you want to get started working in the field, there are a number of different options available for medical assistant training programs.
How To Choose A Medical Assistant Training Program
When choosing a medical assistant training program, you want to be sure that it is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. There are a total of 569 accredited programs at this time, including programs in 47 different states. For those without an accredited program located near them, there are also three accredited online programs (located at Kaplan University in Davenport, IA; Spencerian College in Louisville, KY; and Mountain State University in Beckley, WV) so everyone has a program available to them.
For those who want to get started quickly in their new career field, there are 198 diploma programs and 167 certificate programs available. These medical assistant training programs usually last about one year, so they are among the shortest programs available. However, you will get more experience and have a better foundation for your career (and possibly more job opportunities) if you stick it out and attend one of the longer training programs.
There are 265 associates degree programs that are accredited. These programs are usually about two years long, and you leave with a college degree which could give you more options in the job market and possibly more pay.
Medical Assistant Requirements
Any medical assistant training program will require you to have at least a high school degree. Most programs include at least some time spent working in a medical office as an internship during your course of study so that you can get a better idea of what the job will be like and so you can get some practice performing the basic skills required of a person with this position. It is a really good idea to make sure that whichever program you choose includes some on the job training such as this because it is very useful to have. Once you have completed your training, it is also advisable to get certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants or one of the other organizations which provides this service as it will make it easier to find jobs.