Radiologic technologist

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A radiologic technologist, also known as medical radiation technologist[1] and as radiographer,[2] performs imaging of the human body for diagnosis or treating medical problems. Radiologic technologists work in hospitals, clinics, and private practice.

Nature of the work[edit]

A radiologic technologist uses his expertise and knowledge of patient handling, physics, anatomy, physiology, pathology and radiology to assess patients, develop optimal radiologic techniques and evaluate resulting radiographic images.

The allied medical professions include many branches, such as respiratory therapist, physical therapist, surgical technologist, and others. The branch of the allied health field known as radiologic technology also has its own sub-specialties.The term sub-specialties has been a matter of debate and is a little confusing when a person going to a radiological program and observes that there are two other forms of medical imaging that are not radiological in nature i.e sonography and MRI. The term radiologic technologist is a general term relating to various sub-specialties within this field. Titles used to describe the nature of the work vary and include nuclear medicine technologist, radiographer, and radiation therapist.

Radiologic technology modalities (or specialties):

As with all other occupations in the medical field, radiologic technologists have rotating shifts that include night duties.


United States[edit]

Education slightly varies worldwide mainly because of fairly common references. A high school diploma, passing the entrance requirements and criminal record clearance are mandatory for entry in the radiologic technology program. Formal training programs in radiography range in length that leads to a certificate, an associate or a bachelor's degree. Citing patient safety concerns, the international trend now leans towards a bachelor's degree.[citation needed] Master's degree programs are offered in many countries.

The educational curriculum substantially conforms worldwide. Usually, during their formal education, they must receive some training in human anatomy and physiology, general and nuclear physics, mathematics, radiation physics, radiopharmacology, pathology, biology, research, nursing procedures, medical imaging science, diagnosis, radiologic instrumentation, emergency medical procedures, medical imaging techniques, computer programming, patient care and management, medical ethics and general chemistry.

In addition to primary training, Radiologic Technologists in the U.S. are required to attend continuing education courses. This study is quantified as credits or units that equate to one credit for one hour of study. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is primary credentialing organization in the United States for radiologic technologists. The ARRT sets national guidelines for continuing education. They require radiologic technologists to attend 24 hours of continuing education every two years. This education time is quantified as credits (or sometimes called units) where one credit equals one hour of education. Most state agencies follow this example as well. Additional requirements are set forth for technologists who specialize in mammography by the US FDA.[3]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, radiologic technologists are known as Diagnostic Radiographers. The terms "Radiographer", "Diagnostic Radiographer" and "Therapy Radiographer" are protected titles within the United Kingdom and can not be used by any persons who has not undertaken formal study and registered with the Health Professions Council. The titles are protected by law. They must gain a university degree in Diagnostic Radiography/Diagnostic Imaging and be registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC) before they can undertake medical radiography. Degrees are offered by universities across the UK and last for 3 years in England and Wales, and 4 years in Scotland.[clarification needed]

Student (Trainee) Diagnostic Radiographers must spend a significant amount of time working at a hospital affiliated with the university (clinical placement) during their studies to meet the requirement for registration with the HPC. They specialise in the acquisition of radiographs (X-rays) and work with GP patients, Outpatients, A&E referrals and inpatients. They conduct mobile X-rays on wards and in other departments where patients are too critical to be moved and work as part of the operating team in mainly orthopaedic and urology cases, offering surgeons live radiographic imaging. Once qualified, diagnostic radiographers are able to acquire X-rays without supervision and work as part of the imaging team. They will have basic head examination qualifications with Computed Tomography (CT) and even basic experience with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Ultrasound and Nuclear Medicine.


Diagnostic Radiographers can specialise in-house or through a university course as a postgraduate in CT, MRI, Ultrasound or Nuclear Medicine with opportunities to gain an MSc in their field. Diagnostic Radiographers in the UK are also taking on roles that were typically only undertaken by the radiologist (a medical doctor who specialised in interpreting X-rays) in the past. Reporting Radiographers now write reports and diagnose pathologies seen on X-rays after completing a recognised HPC and Society of Radiographers (SoR), university course.



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