- Radiologic technologist
A radiologic technologist, or radiographer, is a healthcare professional who creates medical images of the body to help health care providers diagnose and treat illness and injury. They work in hospitals, clinics, medical laboratories, nursing homes, and in private industry.
By the definition of Health Professions Council of The United Kingdom, "Diagnostic Radiographers produce & interpret high-quality images of the body for doctors to diagnose injuries and diseases. For example, X-rays, Ultrasound or CT scans carried out in hospital".
Nature of the work
The allied health field includes many branches such as, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, laboratory technologists and radiologic technologists... as well as others. The branch of the allied health field known as Radiologic Technology also has its own branches or modalities. The term radiologic technologist is an all encompassing term relating to all the different modalities within this allied health profession. Specifically, there are other titles used to describe the nature of the work, such as radiographer, sonographer, therapist etc. The term "technician" is reserved for those who fix equipment and is not a part of the allied health profession known as "Radiologic Technology".
Diagnostic radiologic technologists employ a range of sophisticated equipment to produce high quality images, with the least amount of radiation to the patient, so that doctors and other health care professionals may better diagnose and treat an injury or disease. Radiologic Technologists use their expertise to assess the patient, develop optimal radiographic techniques and evaluate resulting radiographic images to determine if additional images are warranted. They do this while taking into account the patient's physical, emotional and mental ability and the nature of injury or disease suspected or present.
The practice of Radiologic Technology includes the following modalities (or specialties):
Radiography– to look through tissue to examine bones, cavities and foreign objects; includes cardiovascular imaging and interventional radiography.
Sonography– uses high frequency ultrasound and is increasingly used due to its economy, safety, and versatility in obstetrics, including metal monitoring throughout nancy, necology, abdominal, pediatrics, cardiac, vascular and musculo-skeletal; Note: in most settings this is conducted by a specially trained Sonographer.
Fluoroscopy– live motion X-ray (constant radiation) usually used to image the digestive system; monitor the administration of a contrast agent to highlight vessels and organs or to help position devices within the body (such as pacemakers, guidewires, stents etc.)
CT( computed tomography) – which provides cross-sectional views (slices) of the body; can also recostruct additional images from those taken to provide more information in either 2 or 3D.
MRI( magnetic resonance imaging) – builds a 2-D or 3-D map of different tissue types within the body;
Nuclear medicine– this uses radioactive tracers which can be administered to examine how the body and organs function, for example the kidneys or heart. Certain radioisotopes can also be administered to treat certain cancers such as thyroid cancer.
Radiotherapy( Radiation Therapy)- uses radiation to shrink, and sometimes eradicate, cancerous cells/growths in and on the body.
Mammography- uses x-ray to image the breast tissues.
The American Society of Radiologic Technology is the professional organization in the United States, which governs the scope of practice for radiologic technologists.
The education of a radiologic technologist varies worldwide. Usually their educational qualifications may include a diploma after secondary schooling or a three year to four year bachelor's degree and or master's degree. Formal training programs in radiography range in length from 1 to 4 years and lead to a certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree. Two-year associate degree programs are most prevalent. Since these professionals are using ionizing radiation, which is potentially harmful to the living cells, most countries have strict regulations and certifications regarding the practice of this profession.
The educational curriculum also varies in different countries. Usually during their formal education they must learn human
anatomyand physiology, general and nuclear physics, mathematics, radiation physics, pathology, Biology, Genetics, nursingprocedures, medical imagingsciences and diagnosis, radiologic instrumentation, radio diagnosis, and photographic imaging techniques and chemistry.
This is a blend of medical sciences and physical sciences.
In the Philippines
A bachelors degree and passing the licensure examination given every
Juneand Decemberin Manilaby the Professional Regulation Commissionare required to practice Radiologic Technologyin the Philippines. The Radiologic Technologyprograms in the Philippinescovers a wide selection of subjects that include Nuclear Medicine, Radiation Therapy, Computed Tomography Scanning, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Ultrasonography, Interventional Radiography, Mammography, Pathology, Nursingprocedures, Teleradiography, General Radiographyand are based and in accordance with the existing standards of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. References include but are not limited from authors such as: Ballinger, Bushong, Charboneau, Wilson, Rumack, Saunders, Yochun, Thompson and Saia.
In the United Kingdom
Radiologic technologists in the U.K are known as diagnostic/therapy radiographers. The title diagnostic & therapeutic radiographer is protected by law. Training in England & Wales is a three-year university degree and training in Scotland is a four-year degree, culminating in a BSc.Hons. (Bachelor of Science) qualification. Once qualified the candidate is required to register with the
Health Professions Council(HPC) before they are allowed to practice. Radiographers who qualified before 1990 qualified by gaining their professional qualification from the College of Radiographers - The Diploma of the College of Radiographers (D.C.R.). To maintain their registration with the HPC, radiographers are required to continue their education, known as CPD (continuing professional development). All healthcare professionals are required to do this in the UK.
Radiographers can specialize by undertaking postgraduate courses at master's level (M), usually a postgraduate diploma is required to practice in the field of Ultrasound /MRI / CT / Nuclear Medicine / formal reporting etc. Some radiographers proceed to gain their full Master's Degree and PhD to work as Consultant Radiographers in the UK.
Therapy Radiographers (UK)treat patients using radiation to cure and/or reduce the effects of diseases such as cancer (See
Radiotherapy). UK Radiographers are responsible for administering therapy doses of radiation to patients using their skill and knowledge to direct intensive radiation to the required area accurately.
Radiographers are eligible for membership of the
Society of Radiographers.
In the NHS, radiographers are now undertaking many of the roles historically undertaken by
radiologists(doctors specialising in medical imaging). This includes the reporting of plain films and CT scans,cite journal | author=Field-Boden QC & Piper KJ | title=Reporting for radiographers | journal = Synergy | date=1996 Mar | pages = 32–33 ] and performing of procedures such as barium enemascite journal | author=WAUGH R | title=Fluoroscopy role redesign and service improvement | journal = Synergy | date=2005 Sep | pages = 10–15 ] IVUs and nerve root injections.Fact|date=June 2007
In the United States
If students are interested in becoming a radiologic technologist immediately post high school (United States), students should take high school classes that will expand on their
communication skills, such as writing and speech. Science classes such as biology, anatomy, physics, and chemistry are the bulk of background study for radiologic technology [http://www.arrt.org/index.html?content=education/compreqs.html pre-requisites that radiology programs] look for during the application process. Although, creative classes such as figure drawing (the eye hand coordinated knowledge of the body, its landmarks and joints etc.) and drama (use of body language and other non-verbal skils) can be helpful to the prospective radiographer.
Along with academics, to be a successful radiologic technologist student a person should be able to demonstrate compassion and patience. They should be flexible, and possess critical thinking skills so they can adapt normal procedures to patients needs and abilities. Their personality should be extroverted and they should be able to communicate (verbal, written and non-verbally) in a clear and concise manner. An understanding of medical terminology and hospital procedures is also helpful prior to entering a program, but not required as the radiography curriculum will include this material. 
A radiologic technologist in the U.S. is educated in a two-four year accredited (by the Joint Review Committee on educational programs in Radiologic Technology) program. There are accredited military program (such as the US ARMY MOS 68P), 2-year certificate programs, 2-year associate degree programs and there are 4 year bachelors programs in Radiologic Technology. There are a few Masters Degree programs offered in the USA in Education and Administration. After completion of any of these programs, the graduate technologist would sit for their board exam. The
American Registry of Radiologic Technologistscertification (or board) exam is the gold standard in the USA. However, some states allows for the practice called "limited license" radiography, in which case individuals are permitted to attend classes for several weeks with a focus on a specific body part, sometimes followed by the ARRTexam, but this may be optional as long as the state they practice in has issued them a "limited license" to practice.
Federal legislation protects the public from the hazards of unnecessary exposure to medical and dental radiation by ensuring that operators of radiologic equipment are properly educated. However, there is much controversy of what "properly educated" is defined as. The gold standard in the USA is a minium of 2 years with a full accredited curriculum (Refer to ASRT curriculum guide & JRCERT accreditation standards). Furthermore, under this legislation, the federal government sets voluntary standards that states may use for accrediting training programs and certifying individuals who engage in medical or dental radiography.
In 2005, 38 states certified radiologic technologists. Certification, which is voluntary, is offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Many employers prefer to hire certified radiographers. Certified radiographers have the most career flexibility to practice, as the ARRT credentials are accepted everywhere in the USA (although some states do require a state license to practice too). Those not credentialed by the ARRT and only licensed in their state may not be able to practice outside that state.
Radiographers certified by the ARRT are expected to re-certify every two years. To be recertified, radiographers must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years. Failure to complete this continuing education can result in a radiologic technologist needing to re-take their ARRT board exam in order to be credentialed again.
While radiographers in the USA work in trauma, operating room, critical care, fluoroscopy, CT scanning, MRI and angiography and other areas; there are many other available options for career advancement. RT's can attain continuing education in Mammography, CR,
MRI, angiography, and become ARRT certified in these areas. Or they may pursue addition education in the areas of ultrasound (sonography), and nuclear medicine. (the results of a pilot study on using sonography as a primary certification was published by the ARRT in 2005). [http://www.arrt.org/sonpilot/pilotreport.pdf]
Those with a preference towards leadership may seek positions in an administrative capacity such as shift-supervisor, chief (sometimes called a "lead") radiologic technologist, or department administrator or director. Depending on the institution, courses or a master’s degree in business or health administration may be necessary for administrative positions.
There is also a career path in radiologic technology education for those who desire to have a hand in the future of the profession. Even this career path contains several directions including, Clinical instructor, didactic (course) instructor, and the more administrative positions of clinical coordinator and program director.
In addition, there are positions as sales representatives or application specialists (educators of those who use the new equipment) with equipment manufacturers.
Some sonographers and MRI technologists are not radiologic technologists. However, they should be credentialed by some ARRT equivalent agency to assure the educational preparation was adequate. They are able to perform exams specifically and solely in the areas of MRI & sonography because these modalities don't use ionizing radiation and therefore are not held to the same protective standards as Radiologic Technology areas that do.
Wage and salary information
The 2007 American Society of Radiologic Technologists salary survey had the median earnings nationwide at $58,673 per year. Mean full-time compensation was reported highest in California ($75,873), Massachusetts($71,574), Washington, D.C. ($68,585), Connecticut ($66,471) and Oregon ($66,152). Mean full-time compensation was reported lowest in West Virginia ($45,627), South Dakota($48,902), Alabama ($49,131), Arkansas ($50,244) and North Dakota ($50,601. The disciplines/specialties yielding the highest compensation were medical dosimetry ($87,188)and radiation therapy ($71,461). Radiography ($52,336) was least lucrative, followed by mammography ($56,605).The survey is computed by information provided by the technologists themselves. As in most fields, wages increase commensurately with the amount of experience, responsibility levels and various modality capabilities. In Great Britain Diagnostic and Therapy Radiographers are getting a minimum salary of 20000 pounds and the supd. Radiographers are getting about 40000 to 70000 pounds annually.
1. cite book
title = Exploring Heatlth Care Careers Third Edition Volume 2
publisher = Infobase
date = 2006
location = New York
pages = 796-797
url = http://wwwfegpubco.com
isbn = 0-8160-6448-2
* [http://www.radiologysearch.net Radiology Search] is a peer-reviewed Radiology search engine for radiologists and radiology technicians.
* [http://www.ARDMS.org American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography]
* [http://www.arrt.org American Registry of Radiologic Technologists]
* [http://www.asrt.org American Society of Radiologic Technologists]
* [http://www.radiologyforums.com Online Community for Radiologic Technologists]
* [http://www.eradimaging.com eRADIMAGING] is an e-publication exclusively for RTs with FREE CE
* [http://www.sor.org The British Society of Radiographers]
* [http://www.hpc-uk.org/aboutregistration/professions/radiographers Health Professions council in the UK]
* [http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos105.htm Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition] - Detailed outlook of the Radiologic Technologist And Technician vocation, provided by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Dept. of Labor.
* [http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos105.htm Bureau Labor of Statistics - Occuptional Outlook Handbook - "US"]
* [http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/benchmark/health/radio.pdf UK QAA Benchmark Statement for Radiography]
* [http://www.bnmsonline.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=122&Itemid=6 British Nuclear Medicine Society - Nuclear Medicine Radiographer]
* [http://www.bamrr.org/ British Association of MRI Radiographers]
* [http://www.bmus.org/intro/home.asp British Medical Ultrasound Society]
* [http://www.bir.org.uk/ British Institute of Radiology -the oldest radiological society in the world. The origins of the BIR can be traced back to a first meeting held on 2 April 1897 to form "The X-ray Society".]
* [http://www.srp-uk.org/ Society for Radiological Protection]
* [http://www.radiographycareers.co.uk/ UK Radiography careers website]
* [http://www.isrrt.org/isrrt/Default_EN.asp ISRRT]
* [http://www.bartsandthelondon.org.uk/aboutus/history/main.asp?ht_id=1 X-ray Martyrs]
* [http://www.uihealthcare.com/depts/medmuseum/galleryexhibits/trailoflight/03xraymartyrs.html US X-ray Martyrs]
* [http://www.nyssrs.org] NY Society of Radiologic Technologists
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