A diagnostic radiologic technologist is a medical professional who creates images of body structures or prescribes treatment for diseases and conditions using radiology techniques.
They are mid-level workers as they work below radiologic assistants. However, they also work above radiologic technicians in responsibility, level, and experience.
The technologist sends the results of a completed test to the radiologist or radiologic assistant for further analysis.
An individual needs a minimum of two years of formal training at an accredited facility to become a diagnostic radiologic technologist. Someone with a certificate lower than this may start as a technician before moving on to be a technologist.
The diagnostic radiologic technologist reviews and evaluates developed x-rays or computer-generated information to determine if images are satisfactory for diagnostic purposes. Additionally, they follow all safety measures and use protection devices when performing radiology techniques.
Radiologic technologists, also known as radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x rays, on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images.
Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists typically need an associate’s degree. Many MRI technologists start out as radiologic technologists and specialize later in their career. Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.Education
An associate’s degree is the most common educational requirement for radiologic and MRI technologists. There also are postsecondary education programs that lead to graduate certificates or bachelor’s degrees. Education programs typically include both classroom study and clinical work. Coursework includes anatomy, pathology, patient care, radiation physics and protection, and image evaluation.
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredits programs in radiography. Completing an accredited program is required for licensure in some states.
High school students who are interested in radiologic or MRI technology should take courses that focus on math and science, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, and physics.Work Experience in a Related Occupation
MRI technologists typically have less than 5 years of work experience as radiologic technologists.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Requirements vary by state.
To become licensed, technologists must usually graduate from an accredited program, and pass a certification exam from the state or obtain a certification from a certifying body. Certifications for radiologic technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certifications for MRI technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and from the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT). For specific licensure requirements for radiologic technologists and MRI technologists, contact the state’s health board.
Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.Important Qualities
Detail oriented. Radiologic and MRI technologists must follow exact instructions to get the images needed for diagnoses.
Interpersonal skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists work closely with patients who may be in extreme pain or mentally stressed. Technologists must be able to put the patient at ease to get usable images.
Math skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists may need to calculate and mix the right doses of chemicals used in imaging procedures.
Physical stamina. Radiologic and MRI technologists often work on their feet for long periods during their shift and they must be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.
Technical skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists must understand how to operate complex machinery.
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Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Diagnostic Radiologic Technologist. The best states for people in this position are California, Alaska, Maryland, and Oregon. Diagnostic Radiologic Technologists make the most in California with an average salary of $85,451. Whereas in Alaska and Maryland, they would average $72,609 and $66,388, respectively. While Diagnostic Radiologic Technologists would only make an average of $65,707 in Oregon, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.
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