Radiologic technologists are the third largest category of healthcare professionals, surpassed in number only by physicians and nurses. As with other healthcare providers, R.T.s’ qualifications are vital to quality patient care.
Radiologic technologists work with radiologists, who diagnose a variety of conditions based on the work the technologists perform by imaging certain areas of a patient's body according to the radiologist's directions. A radiologic technologist can be trained to perform X-rays, sonograms, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), mammographies and other radiologic procedures.
Healthcare professionals use many types of diagnostic equipment to diagnose patients. Radiologic technologists specialize in x-ray, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment. They may be called CT technicians or MRI technicians, depending on the equipment they work with. Radiologic technologists might also specialize in mammography. Mammographers use low-dose x-ray systems to produce images of the breast. Technologists may be certified in multiple specialties.
Healthcare professionals who specialize in other diagnostic equipment include nuclear medicine technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers, cardiovascular technologists and technicians, and vascular technologists.
To become a radiologic technologist, you must go through a certification course or a degree program from either a hospital or a school, where proper procedures are taught. Many states have separate requirements to become certified as a radiologic technologist, and require that you go through continuing education courses periodically. Additionally, technologists must follow government regulations concerning properly protecting parts of a patient's body that will not be imaged during a procedure, as well as ensuring the protection of any other individuals present during the procedure.