Working as a Diagnostic Radiographer (Radiologic Technologist)
“Radiologic technologists make up the third-largest group of health care professionals—surpassed in number only by physicians and nurses.” – ARRT
“The projected employment growth rate for radiologic technologists is considered faster than average, with a 9% increase in jobs predicted through 2030, compared to a national average growth rate of 8%.” – Bureau of Labor Statistics
“Due to their integral role on the healthcare team, job prospects for rad techs starting their careers in radiology are expected to remain strong through 2028, with job growth of 9% projected.” – Money US News and World Report
Diagnostic radiographers work mainly within the radiology and imaging departments of hospitals but may also work in surgeries/clinics/orthopedics/doctor’s offices.
Radiology departments within hospitals normally include a number of sections encompassing a wide range of different imaging modalities, e.g. ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine and, of course, x-rays. Diagnostic radiographers are able to undertake most investigations but may later specialize in one particular area.
Diagnostic radiographers use a range of imaging technology:
- X-ray – looks through tissues to examine bones, cavities and foreign objects
- Fluoroscopy – images the digestive system providing a real-time image
- CT (Computed Tomography) – which provides cross-sectional views (slices) of the body
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) – builds a 2D or 3D map of the different tissue types within the body
- Ultrasound – well known for its use in obstetrics and gynecology. Also used to check circulation and examine the heart.
- Angiography – used to investigate blood vessels
Diagnostic radiographers provide a service for most departments within the hospital, including accident and emergency patients, outpatients, inpatients, and surgical patients. Close liaison and collaboration with a wide range of other healthcare professionals is therefore vital.
X-ray is one of the imaging techniques used by diagnostic radiographers to look at injuries or disease, or monitor changes inside the body. While most diagnostic radiographers carry out a range of procedures, they may specialize in techniques such as computerized tomography scanning (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which uses magnetic field and radio frequency waves to produce cross-sectional images of the body, sonography (DMS), nuclear medicine (NM), mammography (M), radiation therapy, etc.
Diagnostic radiography is a fast-moving and continually changing profession, and long-term career prospects include:
- clinical work
- sales of equipment
- Application Specialist
- PACS Administrator