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Healthcare is a huge industry with millions of people employed in its different fields. There is a relatively new healthcare profession with good prospects of career development and great salary outlook. At the same time it does not require 7+ years of education and numerous certifications. We're talking about a radiologist assistant here.

The number of radiology procedures carried out each year is constantly growing. Yet, the number of radiologists remained nearly the same. That's when a radiology assistant position was first introduced to help radiologists to tackle the growing demand. Unlike radiologists, their assistants are not doctors and their needed university education time is much smaller.

What Are the Ingredients of Radiologist Assistant Salary?

There are many factors that influence the salary of any given radiologist assistant. Let's have a glance at 6 most important factors and find out why they are so significant:

#1: Education

Radiology is a complex science that requires both subject knowledge as well as certain soft and hard skills. That is why proper education is simply a necessity when it comes to radiology. Moreover, a completed 4-year Bachelor's degree is obligatory for professional certification. After graduation, radiology assistants are required to pass several certification exams in order to practice.

#2: Additional Certification

Obtaining a Bachelor's degree may not be enough to even land any job, let alone a well-paid one. A big chunk of job openings on the market seeks for assistants who gained Registered Radiologist Assistant (RRA) certification. One-year clinical experience (in addition to Bachelor's degree) is necessary to sit for that cert.

#3: Experience

Yes, the more experience a radiologist assistant has, and the better his or her salary expectations are. Mean salary of radiologist assistants stands at $103,000. However, the employment in the field has been growing for the last 10 years and is expected to grow by another 12% in 2012-2020. That's why mean salary of radiology assistants is on the rise, too.

#4: Geographical location

Northeast offers the best salary prospects on average with around 10% on top of mean figures. Some of the Southern states exhibit far more modest numbers, with some states offering mean salaries at around $90,000.

#5: Specialization

Radiology is a relatively narrow field, though it also has several lucrative specialization paths. Here are just a few examples how you can increase your salary outlook if you are employed in radiology:

  • Magnetic resonance examination - specialists who are experienced enough to work with image contrasting equipment are quite rare. This type of imaging deals with 3-dimentional images;
  • Computed tomography - is another example of 3-D imaging. A radiology assistant who specializes in this field deals with cross-sectional images of the body;
  • Mammography - these specialists deal with women breast examinations in hospitals or other healthcare facilities.

#6: Graduate programs

As in any other profession, getting a Master's degree is very rewarding in terms of salary and career development.

Radiologist Assistant Job Requirements

People who work in this field have to be technologically up-to-date and able to perform sophisticated diagnostic imaging procedures. At the same time, an assistant works under direct supervision of a radiologist and interacts with patients, which means good people skills are highly essential. They need to be able to communicate with patients and doctors alike.

Assistants were first expected to assist radiologists in their daily procedures. However, currently many of them are increasingly working independently and carry out most invasive procedures on their own. Some of the most popular procedures are:

  • X-ray diagnostics of the bones;
  • X-ray imaging of internal organs (Fluoroscopy);
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

They can also conduct preliminary examination of a patient and communicate its findings to a radiologist or a physician. That's why subjects like Physics, Pharmacology, and Patient Assessment are usually included in the university curriculum.

Now you've got the info you need to know about this profession. Radiologist assistants have to handle big amounts of workload and they experience a great deal of responsibility. The job is very demanding in terms of stress resistance, and these professionals require an extensive set of skills to be successful in their career. In turn, it is a very rewarding profession both financially and in terms of career development possibilities.