Radiography careers combine helping people, advanced technology

Radiography Professor at white board

For a challenging medical career where workers touch patients’ lives, radiography offers an abundance of opportunities.

Radiographers, also referred to radiologic technologists, produce X-rays and use other imaging techniques essential in diagnosing medical problems. They work to correctly position patients for procedures, operate high-tech equipment, explain procedures and guard against unnecessary exposure to radiation. Radiography has changed rapidly, so today’s students are on the cutting edge.

About the Program

Radiography is a two-year associate degree that is a second admit program, meaning students begin with general education courses and prerequisites and then apply for admission to the program. Jackson College accepts about 20 students each year in radiography, with applications due at the end of January. Shackelford suggests students contact him before applying so he can offer advice.

“It’s a field that may interest people who love anatomy and working with people, but it may also interest those who love technology,” said Joe Shackelford, assistant professor of radiography. “One of the most incredible things about the field is that, when you become a general radiographer, you have so many directions you can go in.”

Those considering radiography should realize that it is a service profession in which technologists interface daily with patients, many of whom are hurt, scared or injured and may be in poor spirits. “Having good communication skills and relationship building skills are very important, both in working with patients and in working with the technical staff, physicians and nurses.”

Median salary in the field is $60,510, depending on region and location. Employment growth is projected to be higher than average, growing by 11.1 percent by 2028.