Radiologic technologists are the health care professionals who perform diagnostic imaging procedures, such as X-ray examinations, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and computed tomography (CT) scans. Some of them specialize in specific techniques such as cardiovascular-interventional radiography, mammography or sonography.
Radiologic technologists 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.
Employment is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the population grows older, there will be an increase in medical conditions, such as breaks and fractures caused by osteoporosis, which can require imaging to diagnose them.
According to a 2005 survey of radiologic technologists, the top reasons professionals entered this field were that they wanted an interesting career and they wanted to work in a profession that helps people.
Most full-time radiologic technologists work about 40 hours a week; they may have evening, weekend or on-call hours. Opportunities for part-time and shift work are also available.
Salary Range and Outlook
According to a recent survey by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, the average national wage for radiologic technologists in 2013 was $62,763 per year. Incomes for entry-level radiologic technologists (those with two years or less experience) averaged $45,878 per year. Technologists who work in specialty areas such as CT or MRI typically earn more.
Radiologic technologists are educated in anatomy, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation protection and basic patient care. Many radiologic technologists specialize in a particular area of medical imaging, such as mammography or computed tomography (CT scans).
Preparation for this profession is offered in hospitals, colleges and universities, vocational-technical institutes and the U.S. Armed Forces. You can search for accredited programs on the website of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology or on the website of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Beginning in 2015, individuals must have earned a minimum of an associate’s degree in order to sit for certification exams offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Hospitals, which employ most radiologic technologists, prefer to hire those with formal training and national certification. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists has information on certification.
Learn More About a Career as a Radiologic Technologist
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
- American Society of Radiologic Technologists
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology