Picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) administrator jobs have become increasingly important as technology has evolved. Most PACS administrator jobs are in hospitals, although there might be positions in specialized medical offices as well. PACS administrators must have both technical and medical knowledge and skills in order to properly carry out the required job duties. The different PACS administrator jobs include certified positions as associates, interface analysts, system analysts and system managers as well as various types of support personnel.
The PACS system speeds up the time it takes to retrieve and distribute an image, such as an X-ray, because all images are digital. PACS administrators manage the servers and workstations for the PACS systems, and they must monitor the system, manage the storage of images and troubleshoot and solve problems. PACS administrator jobs also require knowledge of quality control, security and how to train others to properly use the system. They must also enter digital image data into the system or database. Familiarity with digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICM) and radiology information systems (RIS) is also important.
PACS administrator jobs are most common in radiology departments of hospitals. These administrators might also work in cardiology, pathology, nuclear medicine or radiation therapy departments, to name a few. Some PACS administrator jobs are linked directly to the information technology (IT) departments in hospitals, because technology is a main aspect of the job.
There are several types of certification for different PACS administrator jobs, and each certification requires slightly different skill sets and knowledge. A certified PACS Interface Analyst (CPIA) is responsible for integrating and connecting the PACS and RIS systems. This is a highly technical position.
The highest PACS certification is the certified PACS System Manager (CPSM). This certification builds on both the CPIA and CPSA certifications. A Certified PACS System Analyst (CPSA) must have a general understanding of the components of the PACS system and must understand clinical and system administrator functions. A Certified PACS Associate (CPA) should have a general understanding of technology and clinical procedures.
In addition to the specific certifications, other PACS administrator jobs include support personnel. These jobs can also be specialized but don't require certification. Many hospitals or institutions that employ PACS administrators prefer that the employee has a bachelor's degree in either a medical or technology field and might also prefer some kind of work experience in the medical field. There are schools and programs that focus specifically on medical technology education, and this is where an aspiring PACS administrator could receive training for a number of PACS administrator jobs.