Radiologic Technologist

If you have ever had a broken bone, you have met a radiologic technologist at the hospital. This allied health worker took a diagnostic medical image of your bone most likely an xray.

Xrays fall under the umbrella of medical radiologic technology, but their duties vary depending on their specialty.

Before we discuss specialties, lets position a list of different job duties for a xray tech, which is where your career would start.

Job duties

As an xray technician, your job would involve working with patients to image a specific part of their body using diagnostic equipment.

This imaging equipment involves xrays, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging.

Despite the different machines, each has similar skill-sets.

  • Preparing patients for the procedure
  • Positioning the patient
  • Safely operating the devices
  • Avoiding over-exposure to radiation
  • Following exact physician orders to get the correct image of the body
  • Maintain patient records and medical history

Most entry level radiographers work with black and white images that are captured digitally. These images allow physicians to find fractures in a bone and detect if there are issues between the bone and soft tissue.

Radiologic technologists will also complete fluoroscope exams, which is an imaging technique. The patient is given a contrast medium, such as barium, and then placed under a fluoroscope machine, which provides real-time moving x-ray images. The contrast medium is highlighted under the fluoroscope.

Work locations

Medical diagnostic equipment is large, which means radiologic technologists will mainly work in hospitals.

Some work in physician offices and diagnostic laboratories.

During the course of a day, an xray technician minimizes his/her dosage to radiation by using lead aprons and gloves. A radiation tech also wears a badge the monitors their lifetime dosage.


The average median pay in 2010 was $54,340, with 80 percent earning between $36,510 and $76,850.

This is a full time job, which may require evenings and weekends if you work at a hospital.

Future growth

As populations continue to increase and people age, there be fractures and a need to have them imaged.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that expected growth will be up to 28 percent by 2020.

Currently, there are more than 219,900 employed as radiologic technologist, with a projected employment of up to 281,000 by 2020. That is a rise of 61,100 new jobs.


A two-year degree is required for all graduates. During your education, you will take courses in anatomy, physiology, radiation safety and physics, patient care, positioning.

Although you will learn bookwork, your education will also focus on hands-on work.

You will have clinical rotations where you work with patients, nurses, and physicians. During the clincials, you will learn how positioning is done in the workplace rather than a textbook example.


A position as an xray technician is the start of this career. You have many different options.

Specializations include the following mammographer, magnetic resonance technologist, computed tomography technologist, cardiovascular interventional technologist, nuclear medicine, sonographer, bone densitometrists, radiation therapists.

I hope this information about radiologic technologists had been helpful.