Hot Niches for Radiologic Technologists

Hot Niches for Radiologic Technologists

Once limited to bulky equipment and rays of energy, radiology has expanded in the digital age -- and so have its specialties. From positions as cardiovascular interventional technologists to sonographers and mammographers, opportunities in radiologic technology are growing.

Indeed, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster-than-average job growth for radiology professionals through 2016. Radiologic technologists in various specialties are working in physicians' offices, diagnostic imaging centers, outpatient care centers, and medical and diagnostic laboratories across the country.

While demand for radiographers is strong across the board, certain specialists are more desired than others. Experts say mammographers, ultrasound technologists (also known as sonographers), nuclear medicine technologists and cardiovascular interventional technologists are the most-coveted specialists in a profession with an overall vacancy rate of 4.5 percent, according to a survey conducted by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).

Mammography: The Forgotten Specialty

Mammographers use radiation to produce images to screen for or diagnose breast disease. They must have special certification beyond general radiology to practice.

Mammography's ranking as one of the lowest-paying radiology specialties could be a factor in its severe labor shortage. The mean annual salary for a mammographer is about $56,600, according to the ASRT's 2007 Wage and Salary Survey. By comparison, nuclear medicine technologists earn about $69,100 a year.

The Government Accountability Office reported a drop in the number of first-time examinees for mammography certificates. The agency forecasts that a predicted decrease in mammographers could lead to longer wait times for appointments at a time when women are being urged to have regular screenings.

"So many X-ray technologists today want to jump right into CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), because they pay more and use the latest and greatest technology," says Cathy Parsons, president-elect of the ASRT. "Mammography is often overlooked or forgotten."

The Hottest Specialties

Specialists in three other areas -- nuclear medicine, sonography and interventional -- are also in high demand.

Nuclear medicine technologists administer radioactive materials to produce images that help diagnose and treat various disorders. Parsons says the relative lack of educational programs in this area, coupled with the fact that physicians are relying more on the data these technologists provide to reach a diagnosis, are factors fueling demand.

However, the pressure-cooker nature of nuclear medicine leads fewer technologists to choose it as a specialty, explains Jim Sutton, director of radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

"Nuclear medicine is in higher demand, because it is a regulated area," he says. "Besides radiation therapy, nuclear medicine is the most mentally taxing, because there are so many mathematical formulas involved.

Sonographers and interventional technologists are also in high demand, but for different reasons, says Patricia Clark, manager of performance improvement and quality assurance for Temple University Hospital's radiology department.

"Due to the workload in ultrasound and interventional technology spurred by new studies, equipment and procedures, the demand is rising in these areas," Clark says.

Radiographers are flocking to ultrasound, where mean annual salaries exceed $63,000, according to the ASRT salary study. Clark says fewer are going into interventional technology. Specialists in this area are required to be on call, a quality-of-life factor that could be keeping some radiologic technologists away.

Nuclear medicine and ultrasound both require additional certification. Interventional technologists can practice with a general radiology certification.

General Radiology: Hurting for Help

With so many appealing specialties, fewer graduates are going into general radiology, a trend Parsons says is a real concern.

"There's a big shortage in X-ray," she says. "Everyone is going into these other specialties, and that leaves us in a bad position. My advice to every new graduate is to work in X-ray for a couple of years before you decide on a specialty. It's good for you, and it's good for the industry."

Latest Jobs

Posted: 05/22/2015
OLATHE, KS, 66062
Albertsons LLC
Posted: 05/22/2015
Caldwell, ID, 83605
Synergy America
Posted: 05/22/2015
Fort Worth, TX
Reliant Holdings, Inc
Posted: 05/22/2015
Nashville, TN, 37210
Posted: 05/22/2015
Troy, MI, 48098

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-301