Air Force Diagnostic Imaging (4R0X1) Specialists use highly sophisticated equipment to perform various procedures.
The Diagnostic Imaging Specialist assists physicians with taking X-rays and other imaging.
These specialists will also prepare the equipment and patients for studies and therapeutic procedures.
The Air Force Diagnostic Imaging Specialist is an important part of the medical team.
Education, Qualifications, and Training
The education, qualifications, and training required are listed below.
The minimum education needed includes having a High School Diploma or GED.
You must meet the minimum ASVAB requirement for the Air Force.
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
Recruits will attend Basic Military Training for 7.5 weeks.
Individuals in this position will spend a longer amount of time in technical training because of the complexity of equipment and procedures that they must learn.
Air Force Diagnostic Imaging technicians will attend training at Fort Sam Houston in Texas for 340 to 450 days.
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What does an Air Force Diagnostic Imaging Technician Do?
An Air Force Diagnostic Imaging technician engages patients and assists with making decisions affecting their care.
These specialists 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 airmen will prepare and assist with contrast media.
The Diagnostic Imaging Specialist sets and verifies settings on equipment.
The 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’s job to ensure the patient’s safety by restricting the radiation beam.
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Before, During, and After Appointment Tasks
Prior to the appointment, the 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 specialists 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.
The specialist will assist with radiation treatment using electromagnetic and radioactive sources.
Besides documenting the patient treatment findings, Air Force Diagnostic Imaging technicians perform a few other administrative functions.
The 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 airmen 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 Specialists can even take part in preparing financial plans, equipment purchase requests, and equipment recommendations.
These specialists will coordinate with other departments to ensure treatment planning is successful and there are no issues that could interfere with imaging.
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Air Force Diagnostic Imaging Specialists ensure quality by establishing standards and guidelines and 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 assessment and treatment.
To ensure the equipment is working with top quality, they will perform quality control checks.
The specialist will monitor individuals to make sure that radiation safety is being met, hazardous materials are being handled properly, and safety standards are being 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 monthly base pay.
|2023 Minimum Monthly Pay
|E-1 +4 months
|Airman First Class
|Senior Master Sergeant
|Chief Master Sergeant
|Command Chief Master Sergeant
|Chief Master Sergeant Of The Air Force
In addition to the pay table above, the Air Force offers many benefits.
- 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.
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.
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.
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Air Force Diagnostic Imaging Specialists handle everything from equipment prep to radiation treatment.
They receive orders from clinics and doctors and 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.
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