A number of industries offer a variety of opportunities for industrial radiographers. These include the aerospace, construction, chemical, petrochemical, shipbuilding, steel and foundry, and utility and power services industries. Graduates will also find work in nuclear materials handling and processing facilities, nondestructive testing firms, welding shops, and radiopharmaceutical companies.
Students who are about to complete an associate's degree in radiological technology usually find work through their college's career services office. Graduates from strong programs often have several attractive offers from which to choose. Whatever preparatory training the beginner brings to the job, study and training will probably continue under the employer's direction. Beginning industrial radiographers usually work with more experienced technicians or engineers.
Opportunities for advancement are plentiful in every industry, but there is usually a very structured chain of command. An entry-level technician typically begins as a junior technician, and then proceeds through a series of three grade levels. The next step is senior and then chief technician. Many technicians advance into supervisory positions. This often means leaving behind the hands-on work they are accustomed to and taking on more managerial duties.
The following jobs are also advancement possibilities after additional experience and training: research technicians develop new ideas and techniques in the radiation and nuclear field; quality-control specialists evaluate and test products to ensure strict adherence to specifications; X-ray calibration technicians test X-ray calibration and equipment reliability and safety and evaluate field and filter performance; instrument-design technicians design and prepare specifications and testing of advanced radiation instrumentation; customer service specialists work in sales, installation, modification, and maintenance of customers' equipment; radiochemistry technicians prepare and analyze compounds utilizing the latest in equipment and techniques; radioactive waste analysts develop new waste disposal techniques, inventory waste on hand, and prepare it for disposal.
Tips for Entry
Contact a local laboratory or contractor to inquire about industrial radiographers in their field. Request an information interview with an industrial radiographer, if available, and arrange to visit or tour their work environment.
Contact the American Society for Nondestructive Testing and the American Nuclear Society for information on membership, local events, and career resources.
Join a local engineering or science club.