Radiologic Technologists are the medical personnel who perform
diagnostic imaging examinations and administer radiation therapy
treatments. They are educated in anatomy, patient positioning,
examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation
protection and basic patient care.
may specialize in dozens of clinical areas ranging from prenatal care to
Demand for Radiologic
Technologists is strong across the country, in every health care
May be responsible for
quality assurance or for overseeing the implementation of new
Could advance to
managing an entire radiology department, including its budget and
Typically, there are
several paths into radiologic technology. Some students attend two-year
programs based in hospitals, earning a certificate when they graduate.
Others enroll in two-year programs at community colleges or technical
schools, earning an associate degree. While others choose to attend
four-year programs at universities and colleges, graduating with a
bachelor's degree. There are nearly 1,000 accredited programs in the
Students will work
side-by-side in radiology departments with doctors, nurses and
experienced Radiologic Technologists in clinical rotations, in hands-on
opportunities to practice patient care skills and fine-tuning their
technical knowledge, no matter which type of program they attend.
Many employers allow Radiologic technologists to work flexible
perform imaging examinations. They are responsible for accurately
positioning patients and ensuring that a quality diagnostic image is
produced. They work closely with radiologists, the physicians who interpret
medical images to either diagnose or rule out disease or injury. For the
images to be interpreted correctly by the radiologist, the imaging
examination must be performed properly by a Radiologic technologist.
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Bone Densitometry Technologists
use a special type of x-ray equipment to measure bone
mineral density at a specific anatomical site (usually
the wrist, heel, spine or hip) or to calculate total
body bone mineral content. Results can be used by
physicians to estimate the amount of bone loss due to
osteoporosis, to track the rate of bone loss over a
specific period of time, and to estimate the risk of
use sophisticated imaging techniques such as biplane
fluoroscopy to help guide catheters, vena cava filters,
stents or other tools
through the body. Using these techniques, disease can be
treated without open surgery.
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Computed Tomography Technologists
use a rotating x-ray unit to obtain "slices" of anatomy
at different levels within the body. A computer then
stacks and assembles the individual slices, creating a
diagnostic image. With CT technology, physicians can
view the inside of organs - a feat not possible with
Magnetic Resonance Technologists
are specially trained to operate MR equipment. During an
MRI scan, atoms in the patient's body are exposed to a
strong magnetic field. The technologist applies a
radiofrequency pulse to the field, which knocks the
atoms out of alignment. When the technologist turns the
pulse off, the atoms return to their original position.
In the process, they give off signals that are measured
by a computer and processed to create detailed images of
the patient's anatomy.
produce diagnostic images of breast tissue using special
x-ray equipment. Under a federal law known as the
Mammography Quality Standards Act, mammographers must
meet stringent educational and experience criteria in
order to perform mammographic procedures.
Nuclear Medicine Technologists
administer trace amounts of radiopharmaceuticals to a
patient to obtain functional information about organs,
tissues and bone. The technologist then uses a special
camera to detect gamma rays emitted by the
radiopharmaceuticals and create an image of the body
part under study. The information is recorded on a
computer screen or on film.
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Quality Management Technologists
use standardized data collection methods, information
analysis tools and data analysis methods to monitor the
quality of processes and systems in the radiology
department. They perform processor quality control
tests, assess film density, monitor timer accuracy and
reproducibility and identify and solve problems
associated with the production of medical images.
use radiation (x-rays) to produce black-and-white images
of anatomy. The images are captured on film, computer or
videotape. X-rays may be used to detect bone fractures,
find foreign objects in the body, and demonstrate the
relationship between bone and soft tissue. The most
common type of x-ray exam is chest radiography.
sound waves to obtain images of organs and tissues in the body. During an
ultrasound examination, the sonographer places a transducer in contact with
the patient's body. It emits high-frequency sound waves that pass through
the body, sending back "echoes" as they bounce off organs and tissues.
Special computer equipment converts those echoes into visual data.
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