For young professionals looking to advance their careers, the fast-growing health services sector offers exciting opportunities. Radiology directors -- they head up X-ray departments -- are respected and well-paid, and serve an important role in diagnosing and treating patients with all sorts of illnesses and conditions. To work with radiation, you must really pay attention to details and keep and careful records, making this job a good fit for someone with strong organizational skills.
A director of radiology has three main areas of responsibility. The director administers the day-to-day operations of one or more radiotherapy or imaging departments. This includes preparing a budget and ensuring that it is met; developing policies; and consulting with board members and safety officers. The radiology director also does supervisory work, providing guidance to team leaders and evaluating personnel. Perhaps most importantly, the director must ensure regulatory compliance. In addition to following local, state, and federal laws governing radioactive medical equipment, the department needs to follow the guidelines of the Joint Commission, the agency that accredits U.S. hospitals and healthcare facilities.
A radiology director works in a hospital or other healthcare facility. The office may be in an administrative annex or a separate portion of the building, but the director will spend plenty of time on the hospital floor participating in the daily activities of the department. All of the usual hazards of health care work apply here, including exposure to sharps, diseases and, of course, radiation. Regular business hours are spent in conferences and meeting face-to-face, so many hospital administrators stay late at the office or take their work home with them.
A master's degree with a background in healthcare administration is preferred. An advanced nursing certification, a healthcare-related bachelor's degree with relevant experience, or an extensive background in radiology may also be sufficient. Applicants may also need to be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, which offers examinations at 200 testing centers across the United States. Continuing education is required to maintain this certification.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median annual salary in 2010 for all medical and health services managers at $84,270. Depending on the size of the facility, salaries may range from about $50,000 a year to $150,000 a year or more. Generally, a director of radiology will work in a hospital or large clinic, and can expect to be paid in the upper range of salaries. Jobs for hospital administrators are expected to grow faster than average between 2010 and 2020 as an aging population drives demand for health services.
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