technologists and technicians perform diagnostic imaging examination.
Radiologic technicians perform imaging examinations like x rays while
technologists use other imaging modalities such as computed tomography,
magnetic resonance imaging, and mammography.
technicians, sometimes referred to as radiographers, produce x-ray films
(radiographs) of parts of the human body for use in diagnosing medical
problems. They prepare patients for radiologic examinations by
explaining the procedure, removing jewelry and other articles through
which x rays cannot pass, and positioning patients so that the parts of
the body can be appropriately radiographed. To prevent unnecessary
exposure to radiation, these workers surround the exposed area with
radiation protection devices, such as lead shields, or limit the size of
the x-ray beam. Radiographers position radiographic equipment at the
correct angle and height over the appropriate area of a patient's body.
Using instruments similar to a measuring tape they may measure the
thickness of the section to be radiographed and set controls on the
x-ray machine to produce radiographs of the appropriate density, detail,
technologists and technicians must follow physicians' orders precisely
and conform to regulations concerning the use of radiation to protect
themselves, their patients, and their coworkers from unnecessary
addition to preparing patients and operating equipment, radiologic
technologists and technicians keep patient records and adjust and
maintain equipment. They also may prepare work schedules, evaluate
purchases of equipment, or manage a radiology department.
technologists perform more complex imaging procedures. When performing
fluoroscopies, for example, radiologic technologists prepare a solution
for the patient to drink, allowing the radiologist (a physician who
interprets radiographs) to see soft tissues in the body.
technologists specialize in computed tomography (CT), as CT
technologists. CT scans produce a substantial amount of cross-sectional
x rays of an area of the body. From those cross-sectional x rays, a
three-dimensional image is made. The CT uses ionizing radiation;
therefore, it requires the same precautionary measures that are used
with x rays.
technologists also can specialize in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MR) as
MR technologists. MR, like CT, produces multiple cross-sectional images
to create a 3-dimensional image. Unlike CT and x rays, MR uses
non-ionizing radio frequency to generate image contrast.
technologists might also specialize in mammography. Mammographers use
low dose x-ray systems to produce images of the breast.
In addition to
radiologic technologists, others who conduct diagnostic imaging
procedures include cardiovascular
technologists and technicians,
diagnostic medical sonographers,
and nuclear medicine
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.