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Become A Diagnostic Technician

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Working As A Diagnostic Technician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Getting Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $56,670

    Average Salary

What Does A Diagnostic Technician Do

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. 

Duties

Radiologic and MRI technologists typically do the following:

  • Adjust and maintain imaging equipment
  • Precisely follow orders from physicians on what areas of the body to image
  • Prepare patients for procedures, including taking a medical history and answering questions about the procedure
  • Protect the patient by shielding exposed areas that do not need to be imaged
  • Position the patient and the equipment in order to get the correct image
  • Operate the computerized equipment to take the images
  • Work with physicians to evaluate the images and to determine whether additional images need to be taken
  • Keep detailed patient records

Healthcare professionals use many types of equipment to diagnose patients. Radiologic technologists specialize in x-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging. Some radiologic technologists prepare a mixture for the patient to drink that allows soft tissue to be viewed on the images that the radiologist reviews.

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.

MRI technologists specialize in magnetic resonance imaging scanners. They inject patients with contrast dyes so that the images will show up on the scanner. The scanners use magnetic fields in combination with the contrast agent to produce images that a physician can use to diagnose medical problems.

Healthcare professionals who specialize in other diagnostic equipment include nuclear medicine technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists.

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How To Become A Diagnostic Technician

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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Diagnostic Technician jobs

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Diagnostic Technician Career Paths

Diagnostic Technician
Radiologic Technician Lead Technician Service Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
MRI Technologist Staff Technologist Radiologic Technician
Director Of Radiology
11 Yearsyrs
Service Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Technician Sales Consultant
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Repair Technician Technician Sales Consultant
Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Manager Program Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mammography Technician CT Technologist Radiology Manager
Imaging Services Director
10 Yearsyrs
Mammography Technician MRI Technologist Radiology Manager
Manager Of Imaging
9 Yearsyrs
Radiologic Technician Instructor Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
CT Technologist MRI Technologist Lead Technician
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Office Manager Practice Manager
Practice Administrator
10 Yearsyrs
Service Manager Operations Manager Operations Director
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Leader Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
CT Technologist Lead Technician Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
MRI Technologist Application Specialist Business Analyst
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Repair Technician Service Technician Sales Manager
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Test Technician Field Service Technician Account Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Service Manager General Manager
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Test Technician Service Technician Sales Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Diagnostic Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

63.4%

Female

34.7%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

75.8%

Hispanic or Latino

11.4%

Asian

9.6%

Unknown

2.3%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

6.5%

Vietnamese

4.3%

Japanese

4.3%

Yoruba

4.3%

Mandarin

4.3%

Sami

2.2%

Chinese

2.2%

Chickasaw

2.2%

Marathi

2.2%

Greek

2.2%

Urdu

2.2%

Hindi

2.2%

Tagalog

2.2%

Cantonese

2.2%

Korean

2.2%

Thai

2.2%

Hmong

2.2%
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Diagnostic Technician Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

19.0%

University of Phoenix

11.0%

University of Arizona

6.0%

Midwestern State University

5.0%

Forsyth Technical Community College

5.0%

Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg

5.0%

Wake Technical Community College

5.0%

Angelo State University

4.0%

San Jose State University

4.0%

Texas A&M University

4.0%

Bakersfield College

4.0%

University of Louisiana at Monroe

4.0%

Ferris State University

3.0%

Eastfield College

3.0%

Washburn University of Topeka

3.0%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.0%

Boise State University

3.0%

Utah Valley University

3.0%

Community College of the Air Force

3.0%
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Majors

Medical Technician

15.6%

Automotive Technology

14.5%

Electrical Engineering

12.5%

Business

12.3%

Computer Science

5.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.0%

Biology

4.3%

Nuclear And Industrial Radiologic Technologies

3.5%

Information Technology

3.0%

General Studies

2.6%

Nursing

2.6%

Computer Information Systems

2.6%

Computer Networking

2.2%

Criminal Justice

2.2%

Health Care Administration

2.2%

Military Technology

2.2%

Clinical Psychology

2.2%

Psychology

1.9%

Kinesiology

1.7%

Management

1.7%
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Degrees

Other

29.4%

Bachelors

26.2%

Associate

23.7%

Certificate

8.4%

Masters

8.2%

Diploma

3.3%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.3%
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Real Diagnostic Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Clinical Molecular Diagnostic Technician Insight Medical Genetics Chicago, IL Jun 17, 2016 $61,500
Medical & Diagnostic Technologist Navarro Orthodontix of McAllen, PLLC Irving, TX Sep 23, 2014 $52,000
Medical & Diagnostic Technologist Navarro Orthodontix of McAllen, PLLC Edinburg, TX Sep 23, 2014 $52,000
Molecular Diagnostic Technologist Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Oct 01, 2013 $50,918
Molecular Diagnostics Technologist I Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Oct 01, 2012 $49,920
Molecular Diagnostic Technologist 1 Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jan 01, 2015 $48,796
Molecular Diagnostic Technologist Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jan 01, 2013 $48,796
Lead, Diagnostic Technologist Medical Diagnostic Services Skokie, IL Apr 09, 2010 $43,430
Lead, Diagnostic Technologist Medical Diagnostic Services Skokie, IL Oct 10, 2008 $43,430

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Top Skills for A Diagnostic Technician

DiagnosticRadiographicProceduresDiagnosticTestsDiagnosticRadiologyPatientCareDiagnosisComponentLevelTroubleshootFluoroscopicCustomerServiceEKGEngineLabEmergencyRoomTraumaSurgeryPacsHolterTestEquipmentWindowsEEG

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Top Diagnostic Technician Skills

  1. Diagnostic Radiographic Procedures
  2. Diagnostic Tests
  3. Diagnostic Radiology
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Complete diagnostic radiographic procedures in the radiology department of a 500-bed teaching hospital.
  • Run Dos and Windows diagnostic tests via in house designed software testing program to determine system functionality.
  • Coordinated daily operations in a Diagnostic Radiology outpatient and hospital setting.
  • Cultivate and strengthen professional relationships with physicians and medical professionals to drive cohesive, accurate patient care.
  • Performed diagnosis of HP and Compaq Notebooks using a combination of commercial and proprietary processing tools and methods for hardware analysis.

Top Diagnostic Technician Employers

Diagnostic Technician Videos

Career Planning : How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Introduction to Ultrasound Technician Schools, Salary and Career

Cardiovascular Technician Career Information : Pros & Cons of Being a Cardiovascular Technician

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