Healthcare Jobs

CT Techs – Is This the Right Position for You? 

Treyvon Kurr
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s especially important in healthcare to choose the right career path. There are a host of directions you might take, and jobs can be highly compartmentalized and specialized. CT Tech is one of those highly specific, yet vital roles, which perfectly suits one kind of person, but may not provide enough variety for others. Let’s look a little closer at exactly what the role entails. 

What is CT Scanning? 

You’ve probably heard of CT scanning, or you may know someone who has had such a scan. CT, or computed tomography, is an X-ray technique for building a composite 3D image of a body part from a series of slices. CT techs are the professionals charged with operating CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) machinery and providing initial analysis of the scans produced. 

CT takes x-ray scanning to the next level by generating thorough and detailed images of the body’s structures. It does so by passing the prone patient through a donut-shaped scanning head on a moving platform. CT can be used in dentistry (cone beam computed tomography or CBCT), and it is particularly good in detecting tumors, blood clots, aneurysms, or other abnormalities. This makes CT scanning a key technique in the early diagnosis of cancer. 

As well as diagnosis, CT scans are often performed during treatment to ensure that strategies such as chemotherapy are working. Due to its use in critical care, and the diagnosis and prognosis of serious conditions, it’s important that CT technicians are people-orientated, tactful individuals who don’t overstep their largely technical roles. 

How Technical is CT Scanning? 

The equipment used by a CT tech is complex but can be operated after a short training course by anyone with a strong ability to follow detailed instructions and strict protocols. Although not invasive, CT scanning can be distressing for some patients, if they are claustrophobic or sensitive to light or noise. CT techs need a good bedside manner to reassure nervous patients that they are in safe hands. 

Since they are providing a vital role within a critical department, CT techs must be focused, disciplined and able to deal with busy work schedules and potentially long shifts. A good understanding of the technology of CT scanning, and related techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) are important. 

What Qualifications should a CT Tech Have? 

CT technicians may hold a bachelor’s degree in applied science, radiological technology, an appropriate qualification from a school of radiology or specialist training course, and a license to perform CT scans. They will require certification from The American Registry for Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and, dependent on which state they’re working in, potentially local certification too. 

What Would a Typical Session Look Like? 

When a patient presents for a scan, the CT tech talks them through the procedure and ensures the appropriate preparations are made (such as removal of metal jewelry). The patient may remove their clothes and don a gown behind a screen if they have not done so already. 

During the scan the CT tech must monitor the patient’s mental and physical state, and make sure the scan is performed efficiently. Following the scan, the technician outlines next steps with the patient and makes sure the scan is transmitted along with any accompanying records, to the physicians who will interpret it. 

Additional duties a CT tech might undertake: 

  • Routine inspections and basic machine maintenance. 
  • Inventory upkeep and stock level monitoring 
  • Liaison with radiologists to obtain any additional slices or scans they may need. 
  • Informing patients and their loved ones how the procedures work. 
  • Senior CT techs may be called upon to upskill junior staff. 

How Many Vacancies are there for CT Techs? 

The job of CT tech is in demand, since the wider role of radiological technologists (including CT or MRI techs) is growing. The field is expanding at a projected rate of 9% by 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

How Well Remunerated is the Job of CT Tech 

CT techs may expect to earn anything from $55K to $130K, depending on experience and seniority. The BLS reports that the median salary is $61,980, although Glassdoor currently lists the likely salary at $91,803 including additional pay. 

Bottom Line

Being a CT tech is a unique blend of technical proficiency, medical knowledge, and interpersonal skills. The role can be highly rewarding in terms of career development, and because CT techs provide a vital skill within a diagnostic field which can make a real difference to patient outcomes. 

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