Are you unsure whether you should choose radiography or pharmacy as a career option? If the answer is yes, this article is for you. Here we have compared both the career fields to have a better idea about which career field is right for you.
Whether you decide to become a radiographer or a pharmacist, both career options have different requirements for education, skills, etc. Talking about essential factors like salary, duties, and responsibilities, these also differ based on the career field you select. Let’s talk about both of these one by one:
Radiographers are also known as Radiologic technologists. They are university trained health care professionals who work with cutting-edge technology to produce X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and other medical images.
The vital role of radiographers is to help diagnose illness and conditions by producing various types of medical images. Mostly, radiographers work in hospitals. However, some also work in private doctor’s offices or in outpatient clinics. As a radiographer, you will work closely with oncologists and physicians to plan radiotherapy treatment for cancer patients.
Radiographers operate CT scanners, nuclear dyes, X-rays, and fluoroscopes to obtain radiographic images of patients. The images are used for knowing the medical conditions. It gives an idea about what disease or injury the person has.
Apart from operating various medical equipment, radiographers are also responsible for interacting with patients. They need to explain to the patients how the process works and answer the query.
The educational and certification requirements of radiographers are an Associate’s degree in radiologic technology or a Bachelor’s degree in radiography/sonography and a certificate by ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) or ARDMS (American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers). Apart from this, radiographers are also required to fulfill state requirements to obtain licensure.
Pharmacists are healthcare professionals responsible for the dispensing of medications. This is the primary job of pharmacists. Apart from this, they are responsible for many other jobs. The duties & responsibilities of pharmacists vary depending on what type of pharmacist you want to be.
Pharmacists are of different types. Depending on your skills and education, you can work in community pharmacy, veterinary pharmacy, ambulatory care pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, industrial pharmacy, or any other.
Keep in mind that the job as a pharmacist is not limited to dispensing prescriptions. Some other significant jobs are communicating with prescribers, performing administrative tasks, ensuring the safety of patients, and controlling medications by monitoring drug therapies.
Talking about skills, some essential skills required as a pharmacist are administering medication, analyzing information, verbal communication, focus on quality, attention to detail, etc.
The educational and certification requirements for a pharmacist job position are a graduate degree from an ACPE (American Council of Pharmaceutical Education) accredited pharmacy college, completion of a Pharm D. program, and valid state pharmacist licensure.
Radiographer Vs Pharmacist
Both are healthcare professionals performing different duties & responsibilities. Let’s take a look at comparison points between radiographers and pharmacists:
Duties & responsibilities
Before choosing any career option, it is imperative to have a clear idea about the duties and responsibilities of that career option. This will give you an idea about whether you should go with that career field or not.
Radiographers are responsible for evaluating patients’ medical condition, interacting with them, adjusting diagnostic equipment, collaborating with oncologists & physicians, maintaining proper records, and more.
Talking about pharmacists, they are responsible for dispensing prescriptions, communicating with prescribers, counseling patients, ensuring patients’ safety, performing administrative tasks, managing staff, and more.
Education, certification, and licensure requirements
The educational requirement of a Radiographer job position includes an Associate’s degree in radiologic technology or a Bachelor’s degree in radiography/sonography. The certificate requirement includes certification by ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) or ARDMS (American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers). Talking about licensure, radiographers are required to fulfill state requirements for getting a license.
The educational requirement of a pharmacist job position includes a graduate degree from an accredited pharmacy college. The candidate also needs to complete an emergency contraception training course approved by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE). Talking about licensure, the candidate also needs to have a valid state pharmacist license.
Although radiographers and pharmacists both are healthcare professionals, the skills required for both the job positions are different. To become a radiographer, the required skills are IT skills, attention to detail, and teamwork ability. IT skills are essential because radiographers operate computerized machines like MRIs and Ultrasound equipment.
The skills required to be a pharmacist are quite different. As a pharmacist, you won’t need to be great with IT skills because the duties & responsibilities of both are different. Some required skills for pharmacists are administering medication, analyzing information, pharmacology, attention to detail, focus on quality, verbal communication, managing processes, etc.
The salary of a particular career option can create an impact on whether you will choose that career option or not. The average salary of a radiographer in the United States is around $52,368 a year, while the average salary of a pharmacist in the United States is about $117,132 a year.
Radiographer or Pharmacist?
We didn’t just want to leave you with the facts on both these careers. So we went out and scoured the internet for actual opinions of Pharmacist and Radiographers that have been one or are currently students/graduates. This is information was curated so nothing has been changed except any spelling or grammar where needed.
Real Radiographers & Pharmacist Opinions
1. Trollmaster88888 “Radiographer” – Medical imaging is more hands-on and more clinical. I would agree to some extent regarding the difficulty of becoming a hospital pharmacist, from memory ADHB is only looking for 2 interns this year.
2. Trobbo95 “Tougher becoming Pharmacist” – Hospital pharmacists take two interns per year, but your GPA needs to be competitive to get in. From memory, during my intern year, the hospitals took two interns (one from Auckland and other from Otago). Also if you not passionate about pharmacy, dont do it, its not an easy degree to do and you will end up hating it in the long run
3. Mew0wi3 “Radiographer” – My friend is a radiographer and they’re always short staffed around Auckland and NZ so you definitely wouldn’t be short of opportunities :). Bare in mind it is a lot of shift work though which kind of limits your social life (that’s in a hospital, I’m sure there’s other employment options out there too)
4. Fermium “What your preference” – Basically it comes down to what you prefer. If you prefer patient contact and getting your hands dirty, go with radiography. If you choose to be ‘clean’, go with pharmacy. Radiography is more practical, pharmacy is more theoretical.
And I’ll just add that in the public sector, radiographers and pharmacists are both classified as ‘health professionals’ and are on the same pay-scale. There is a perceived notion that pharmacists make a lot of money. That’s true if you can open your own shop, and then it comes down to business. Radiographers can open their own radiology (although arguably its harder than opening a pharmacy), but a successful radiology clinic can be a gold mine too.
5. Fallen_Angel “Hands on vs Hands Off” – I’m in second year radiography atm, and I didn’t do physics at school. The physics briding course was alright (despite being a rip-off), but in the lectures and tutorials they go thru the necessary physics in detail so really the briding course is only for if you know nothing at all about physics.
Radiography itself is very practical, and you will be spending ALOT of time with patients so you will need to have good communication skills. There is only a little bit of physics involved, plus anatomy and relevant physiology is more important anyways.
Just in case you haven’t started researching on the courses
6. Iala2 “Chemistry vs No Chemistry” – Just on the physics/chemistry issue: Pharmacy is actually not that much chemistry, it’s a lot of pharmacology and physiology, which are more medical sciences. There’s your basic first year chemistry courses which every other science student does. Then there’s 4 semesters of medicinal chemistry, but its basically analyzing drug molecules and saying which functional groups confer biological activity. So it’s not chemistry chemistry as such. I didn’t do physics and I was fine. Finally, the course is hard, but doable.
Radiographer is more hands on where a Pharmacist is more hands off. With being a Pharmacist you do have a lot of options when it comes to specializations that can lead to more hands on approaches within hospitals and such. Or you can even be very hands off with mail delivery meds. We suggest you shadow each position for a day or longer if possible before making your decision.