How To Become a Diagnostic Imaging Specialist in the Air Force

Providing full-service healthcare to every Airman and their family means having specialists available to meet every medical need. It’s the job of the Diagnostic Imaging specialists to assist physicians by taking X-rays of the entire body in settings ranging from surgery centers to imaging rooms. These professionals utilize highly sophisticated equipment and an intimate knowledge of human anatomy to help get these s and treat their patients.

How do we transform you from a raw recruit to an expert Airman in this field? From hands-on experience to college credit toward a degree, the path begins here.

Whether you have specific questions about how to join the Air Force, are seeking more information or are ready to apply, we’re here to help.

U.S. Air Force: Diagnostic Imaging

What does an Air Force diagnostic imaging specialist do?

Air Force members who serve as diagnostic imaging specialists assist medical professionals in completing imaging tests and sharing results with physicians and other medical professionals. They also prepare patients for imaging procedures, set up equipment for diagnostic tests and clean instruments after use. Diagnostic imaging specialists work on a range of sophisticated medical equipment. After basic training, an Air Force diagnostic imaging specialist undergoes technical education and on the job training to prepare for a medical career helping military professionals.

Here are the typical job duties for diagnostic imaging specialists in the Air Force:

What is diagnostic imaging?

Diagnostic imaging is a method of non-invasive medical testing used to determine more about a patients internal health. These techniques produce clear images of the bodys internal organ systems, hard and soft tissue and bones and joints. Diagnostic imaging methods give medical professionals a range of options to address health issues in patients.

Common forms of diagnostic imaging include:

How to become a diagnostic imaging specialist in the Air Force

As with any military career, youll go through a series of specific steps before starting your work as an enlisted diagnostic imaging specialist for the Air Force. Before you begin your military career, you can look over the following steps that outline your path to working in medical services:

1. Talk to a recruiter

Its a good idea to speak with an Air Force recruiter before enlisting. These professionals can coach you through the enlisting process and answer questions about your career path in the military. They can also help you prepare for the Armed Services Vocational Battery Assessment (ASVAB), since youll need a specific score in certain areas of the test to become eligible for a position as a diagnostic imaging specialist.

2. Enlist

To enlist in the Air Force, youll have to make an appointment at a military entrance processing station (MEPS). Youll need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to join as a private while recruits with a college degree can enter as an officer. At the MEPS, youll also need to pass a medical examination, undergo drug testing and take the ASVAB.

3. Undergo basic training

All enlisted members of the Air Force go through a basic military training program lasting eight and a half weeks. Each week includes physical and mental challenges designed to mold recruits into disciplined and confident members of the Air Force. Youll learn a variety of important information about Air Force history and military tactics and prepare for combat both mentally and physically. After completing field exercises and evaluations from training officers, youll be welcomed into the Air Force through a graduation ceremony.

4. Complete technical training

After youve finished basic training, youll be assigned to train for your specific role as a diagnostic imaging specialist in a technical training program. This period of intensive learning and practice can last up to 450 days at the Air Force medical training facility located on property at Fort Sam in Houston Texas. Studies in human anatomy, medical technology and radiological techniques are integral parts of the program. This part of the medical training process focuses on anatomical studies and practical application assessments.

5. Start an apprenticeship

The next phase in your diagnostic imaging training involves a clinical apprenticeship. Through this experience, youll practice radiographic skills in patient care facilities across Air Force medical locations. This six-month program allows medical trainees to manage patient care and practice imaging techniques while under the supervision of a training professional.

6. Specialize in certain imaging techniques

Once youve completed your training and begin working in the Air Force as a diagnostic imaging specialist, one way to advance your career is to train for further specializations within the imaging field. Some military medical professionals concentrate on nuclear medicine, learning to use small amounts of nuclear materials to produce images of the body. Ultrasound imaging is another area of specialty you can pursue as a diagnostic imaging specialist in the Air Force.


How much does diagnostic imaging make in the Air Force?

Air Force diagnostic imaging techs provide critical technical expertise to the Air Force medical community by operating equipment such as x-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. The Air Force categorizes this job with Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) 4R0X1.

How long is diagnostic imaging School in the Air Force?

How much does an Air Force Diagnostic Imaging make? As of Jul 14, 2022, the average annual pay for an Air Force Diagnostic Imaging in the United States is $75,643 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $36.37 an hour.

How do you become a radiology tech in the Air Force?

Like any medical profession, accuracy is key. As a result, a longer training period is required for a diagnostic imaging technician compared to some of the other medical Air Force Specialty Codes. “Our [technical] school is 14 months long,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Gulland, a 28th MDG diagnostic imaging technician.

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