Radiologic Technologist

Career Information

doctor analyzing a CT scan of a patient

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Radiologic technologists are not the stars of a hospital or clinic but the work they do helps a doctor accurately diagnose medical issues.

Job Description

A  uses diagnostic imaging equipment to help physicians diagnose illnesses and injuries. He or she may use x-ray equipment, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or mammography to perform x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or mammograms.

Radiological technologists may specialize in one diagnostic imaging technology or in several. They are often referred to by a title that reflects the technology in which they specialize. For example, a radiologic technologist who specializes in computed tomography is usually called a CT Technician; a radiologic technologist whose specialty is magnetic resonance imaging is known as an MRI technician.

Employment Facts

There were approximately 241,700 employed in 2016. The majority of them worked in hospitals, but many others worked in doctors' offices, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and outpatient facilities.

Jobs in this field are usually . Since emergencies happen around the clock, those who are responsible for handling them must sometimes work odd hours, including weekends, evenings, and holidays.

Radiologic technologists are at risk for contracting illnesses from their patients, but no more so than other healthcare professionals. Exposure to radiation is another risk, but the protections that are in place decrease its likelihood.

Educational Requirements

If you want to become a radiologic technologist, you must complete a formal training program in radiography. Most people entering this occupation have earned an associate degree, but you can become a radiologic technologist with a certificate or a bachelor's degree. Earning an generally takes about two years. Programs consist of a combination of classroom and clinical training. Radiography students take courses in pathology, anatomy, radiation physics and protection, image evaluation, and patient care.

The to become a radiologic technologist are comparable to the requirement to become a registered nurse.

Other Requirements

Most states require for radiologic technologists. To become licensed, you will usually need to have graduated from a program that has been accredited by the . You will probably have to take a written examination. To learn about your state's licensing requirements, use the . 

In order to succeed in this occupation, you will need —e.g. communication, patience, and teamwork. Spending many hours on your feet requires a good deal of stamina. You should be detail-oriented and have strong interpersonal skills. In addition, you should be good at science and math.

Job Outlook

The , 2012-13 Edition predicts that for radiologic technologists will be faster than the average for all occupations through 2026. The Handbook predicts it will grow more quickly than most other occupations that require an associate degree. Those certified in more than one diagnostic imaging procedure will have the best .


According to the  (BLS), radiologic technologists earned a of . Median hourly earnings were $28.35.

A Day in a Radiologic Technologist and Technician's Life

On a typical day, a radiologic technologist's might include:

  • Following physicians' orders regarding the areas of the body of which they need images
  • Adjusting equipment
  • Explaining procedures to patients
  • Positioning patients
  • Positioning equipment
  • Following procedures that prevent unnecessary exposure to radiation to themselves as well as to the patient
  • Keeping track of patients' records