What Do Radiologic Technologists Do?
Radiologic technologists make up the third-largest group of health care professionals—surpassed in number only by physicians and nurses. A primary responsibility of many technologists is to create images of patients’ bodies using medical equipment. This helps doctors diagnose and treat diseases and injuries. Depending on your specialty, you might use X-ray, MRI, computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy, or sonography equipment.
In some cases, you may prepare and inject radiopharmaceutical agents into patients before creating the images.
You could also help physicians perform procedures—such as angioplasty or stent insertion—to treat heart and blood vessel diseases without surgery. Or you might administer therapeutic doses of radiation to treat diseases such as cancer.
With advanced education, you can also pursue a career as a radiologist assistant. In this role, you’ll ultimately learn to perform many procedures that a radiologist would otherwise do.
WHAT WILL MY WORKDAYS BE LIKE?
Like other medical professionals, you’ll promote safety and provide the highest level of patient care as you complete your daily work.
You’ll probably work in a hospital, physician’s office, outpatient care center, or laboratory. In most cases, you'll split your work between technological tasks and interactions with patients.
Depending on the career you choose, you might see individual patients once or rarely (for example, if you take X-rays or mammograms). Or you might see them regularly (for example, if you administer radiation to cancer patients). In the first case, you’ll welcome people you haven’t met, quickly putting their concerns at ease. In the second, you’ll get to know your patients, addressing their fears and sharing their medical milestones during the course of their treatment.
No matter your specialty, you’ll be an important part of a medical team. Your work will help uncover health problems and could ultimately save lives. You’ll be active throughout your working hours, and no two days will be the same.