Role and Scope for X- Ray Technologist or Radiologic Technologist
A Radiologic technologist performs all types of imaging procedures, most commonly x-rays. They also administer non-radioactive isotopes known as contrast media for diagnostic purposes. Radiologic technologists are also known as radiographers or x-ray techs. They provide a high standard of patient care, prepare patients for examinations, and explain procedures. Radiologic technologists have a thorough understanding of anatomy, positioning, radiographic exposure, patient care and radiation protection.
Radiologic technologists follow physician’s orders and conform to the regulations concerning the use of radiation to protect themselves, the patients and co workers. With experience radiographers perform complex procedures such as fluoroscopy, which is a real time x-ray procedure used by physicians. Radiologic technologists can also specialize either in computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CT scans use ionizing radiation, while MRI scans use non-ionizing radio frequency to generate images. Radiographers may also specialize in mammography, angiography, surgery, trauma, and bone density to name a few.
This profession requires good physical stamina, as radiographers are required to stand for long periods, lift and turn disabled patients, and move heavy equipment. Full time x-ray technologists are required to work for about 40+ hours a week, part time and shift work opportunities are also available. Most of the employers prefer to hire technologists with formal training. It is mandatory by law to be certified to work as radiologic technologist and in 2007, 40 states required licensure for practicing. The ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) offers voluntary certification.
Radiographers are primarily employed with hospitals, followed by physician offices, medical laboratories, outpatient imaging centers and government agencies. Radiologic technologists held approximately 196,000 jobs in 2006 and their employment rate is expected to grow by another 15 to 20% by 2016. The average median annual earnings for a radiologic technologist was $48,170 in 2006.
Radiographers with expertise in multiple diagnostic imaging modalities are likely to have better employment opportunities and with experience the likelihood of being promoted to supervisor, chief technologist and finally the department director.