Air Force

Air Force Diagnostic Imaging (4R0X1): Career Details

Air Force Diagnostic Imaging (4R0X1) specialist use highly sophisticated equipment to perform various procedures.

The Diagnostic Imaging specialist assist physicians with taking x-rays and other imaging.

Specialist will also prepare the equipment and patients for studies and therapeutic procedures.

The Air Force Diagnostic Imaging specialist are an important part of the medical team.

Education, Qualifications and Training

The education, qualifications and training required are listed below.

Education

The minimum education needed includes having a High School Diploma or GED.

You must meet the minimum ASVAB requirement for the Air Force.

Qualifications

The qualifications that you must have to join the Air Force in the Diagnostic Imaging position include:

  • Between the ages of 17 and 39
  • Minimum of 18 years old prior to Technical Training
  • Knowledge of human anatomy or physiology

Training

Recruits will attend Basic Military Training for 8.5 weeks.

Individuals in this position will spend a longer amount of time in technical training because of the amount of equipment and training that they must learn.

Air Force Diagnostic Imaging technicians will attend training at Ft Sam Houston in Texas for 340 to 450 days.

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What does an Air Force Diagnostic Imaging Technician Do?

Diagnostic Imaging Air Force
Airman practices a CT scan on a dummy. Image: af.mil

An Air Force Diagnostic Imaging technician engages patients and assist with making decisions affecting their care.

Equipment

These specialist will perform equipment quality checks to ensure the equipment is running effectively.

The equipment that they operate can be portable or fixed. 

They ensure that the emergency cart has the correct supplies and is readily available for any future needs.

They will prepare the sterile supplies and prepare the equipment.

These airman will prepare and assist with contrast media.

Diagnostic Imaging specialist set and verify dosage settings on equipment. 

Specialist will adjust the control settings on machines to make sure the milliamperage, focal spot size, exposure and kilovoltage are correct for the current procedure.

Depending on the procedure, the technicians will adjust the table, choose the type of recording media, and align the x-ray tube.

It is the Diagnostic Imaging specialist job to ensure the patient’s safety by restricting the radiation beam.

 Related ArticleAir Force Health Services Management (4A0X1): Career Details

Before, During and After Appointment Tasks

Prior to the appointment, Diagnostic Imaging specialist will instruct the patient on how to prepare for the examination or procedure.

During the procedure, the specialist will monitor the patient and document their findings in the patient treatment record.

These specialist will perform nuclear medicine, ultrasounds, mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, and computerized tomography.

The Diagnostic Imaging specialist will select the correct tools, accessories and protocols based on the examination that needs to be completed.

They will then record the image, expose the image and process the image.

Using computer programming, they will take those images and perform image subtraction and manipulations.

They can operate pressure injectors, digital imagers, stereotactic biopsy devices, vital sign monitoring, and serial film changers.

Specialist will assist with radiation treatment using electromagnetic and radioactive sources.

Administrative Functions

Air Force x-ray tech
Airman preparing the patient for an x-ray. Image: af.mil

Besides documenting the patient treatment findings, Air Force Diagnostic Imaging technicians perform a few other administrative functions.

Specialist will be in charge of receiving patients and scheduling appointments.

They will prepare and process any examination requests from the referring doctor or clinic.

These Airman will file images, patient records and reports.

They are in charge of entering and maintaining all of the data in the different radiology programs and systems.

Diagnostic Imaging specialist can even take part in preparing financial plans, equipment purchase requests and equipment recommendations.

These specialist will coordinate with other departments to ensure treatment planning is successful and there are no issues that could interview with imaging.

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Ensuring Quality

Air Force Diagnostic Imaging specialists ensure quality by establishing standards and guidelines then making sure everyone meets those guidelines.

They will review images to make sure that the quality is at the level that is needed for effective treatment and assessment.

To ensure the equipment is working with top quality, they will perform quality control checks. 

Specialist will monitor individuals to make sure that radiation safety is being met, hazardous materials are being handled properly and safety standards are met.

The video below from the Air Force provides a student’s point of view of technical school and life as a Diagnostic Imaging specialist.

What does an Enlisted Air Force Diagnostic Imaging Specialist Make?

The Air Force has the same base pay for all individuals with the same rank and years of service.

As you move up in rank and time in the service, you can follow the pay table below to estimate your pay.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviation2019 Pay (Monthly)
E-1Airman BasicAB$1,681
E-2AirmanAmn$1,884
airman first class smallE-3Airman First ClassA1C$1,981
E-4Senior AirmanSrA$2,195
E-5Staff SergeantSSgt$2,394
air force e 6 insigniaE-6Technical SergeantTSgt$2,613
E-7Master SergeantMSgt$3,021
E-8Senior Master SergeantSMSgt$4,345
E-9Chief Master SergeantCMSgt$5,308
command chief master sergeant insig smallE-9Command Chief Master SergeantCCM$5,429
chief master sergeant of the air force insigE-9Chief Master Sergeant Of The Air ForceCMSAF$5,580

Benefits

In addition to the pay table above, the Air Force offers many benefits.

These include:

  • Insurance: Free/Low Cost Medical and Dental, paid sick time, low-cost life insurance
  • Retirement: Available after 20 years of service with no payroll deductions
  • Vacation: 30 days paid 
  • Housing: Allowance including living expenses, utilities and maintenance
  • Food: Allowance for the on-base dining hall and access to tax-free department and grocery stores
  • Education: Up to 100% tuition assistance with the Air Force Tuition Assistance program, Post 9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill.

Job Reviews

This position requires a lot of training and skill.

Having to learn all of the terminology, equipment and procedures can be challenging.

The review below is from an individual who completed Diagnostic Image Training and focused on radiology.

Air Force Diagnostic Imaging
Image: Glassdoor

Positive aspects of the position include being able to meet a wide diversity of people.

Sometimes you do not know what procedure or x-ray is coming and it can make the day interesting.

The video below is a position description and review from a current airman in the Diagnostic Imaging position.

Civilian Job Opportunities

Working as a Diagnostic Imaging specialist in the Air Force allows you to gain experience that can be valuable in the medical field.

The skills that you learn could directly relate to civilian positions as:

  • X-ray technician
  • Ultrasound technician
  • Radiology Tech
  • Diagnostic Imaging Receptionist/Scheduler
  • Equipment Engineer
  • MRI Tech

Civilian opportunities include working in private practices, hospitals, clinics and government facilities.

 Related ArticlePros And Cons Of Joining The Air Force

Summary

Air Force Diagnostic Imaging specialist handle everything from equipment prep to radiation treatment.

They receive orders from clinics and doctors then complete the requests in a timely fashion.

The job can change drastically from one day to the next and requires more time in technical training than some other positions in the Air Force.

There are both positive and negative aspects to the position but overall it allows recruits to help serve a diverse group of individuals.

This position opens the door for several civilian career opportunities in the medical field.

References:

Air Force Diagnostic Imaging

Air Force Benefits

Rob V.
Rob V.
Rob V. is the founder of OperationMilitaryKids.org. While he never actually served in the US Military, he has a passion for writing about military related topics. Born and raised in Woodbridge, NJ, he graduated from the New Jersey Institute Of Technology with an MBA in eCommerce. His hobbies include beach volleyball, target shooting, and lifting. Rob is also a commercially rated pilot with over 1,500 hours of flight time.

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