Saturday, March 7, 2009

X Ray Technician Jobs And Accreditation

Why is training so important to becoming an x ray technician? Of course, in any x ray technician job, you want to be good at what you do. However, beyond that, new regulations will make it important to be certified and accredited. A recent article in the NYTimes, "Good or Useless, Medical Scans Cost The Same" by Gina Kolata, described these regulatory changes and the impact they will have on imaging centers, and therefore, x ray technicians: 
Imaging centers can, if they choose, become accredited by the American College of Radiology. That requires, among other things, scanning a phantom, a device that simulates a body part. Technologists must also be certified, and there are standards for supervising physicians (emphasis added). And the scanners must be regularly assessed to ensure they are properly functioning.

But many centers are not accredited, although the percentage is not known because there is no national registry of imaging centers.

Accrediting will be partly addressed by a little noticed aspect of a wide-ranging Medicare law passed last year. After it goes into effect in 2012, Medicare will pay only for scans done at accredited centers. But imaging experts say the law fixes only part of the problem. High-tech scanning is complicated, and there is no consensus on objective measures to ensure quality. Even with the new law, there is still little assurance that scans will be appropriately ordered and interpreted or that a scanner will be up to date.

Radiologists are struck by the wide variation in the quality of scans, and they say there is little patients can do other than to ask why the scan is necessary and, if it is, to ask about accreditation, the credentials of the person reading the scan and the age of the scanner

While 2012 is still a ways off, it is important to plan ahead and make sure that you have the appropriate training and certification prior to the law going into effect. If poor scans are the issue, that may be due to equipment, but it can also be due to the operator, which is the technologist in many cases. Therefore, when training, it is imperative to not only find a program that will give you the best chance of becoming certified, but to also find one that provides numerous opportunities for hands-on experience in a wide variety of modalities.

Radiologic Technologist Certification

Being in imaging is a rewarding career, given the dynamic nature of the field. However, this dynamism also requires one to be mindful of what lies ahead in the future and prepare for coming advances. Accredited imaging centers will benefit the industry, but it is imperative that you as an x ray technician are ready for these changes when the time comes. In a tight job market like the one we are in now, the more you can stand out due to your training and credentials, the more valuable you become to an employer. This value translates into not only higher pay and benefits, but also increased job security, which may be the most valuable item of all. Do not fear the changes that are coming, but embrance them, prepare for them, and you shall be successful. Good luck!