Radiologic technologists use radiation to create images used to diagnose patients. Working from doctors' orders, they use x-rays, fluoroscopes and other techniques to make these pictures. They position patients for each procedure and calculate the appropriate exposure for the x-ray including duration, distance from the patient and strength of the x-ray. They may also give injections of substances that help produce clearer images. During the x-ray process, they monitor patient condition and reactions. They then develop the x-ray film for the physician to view. Radiologic technologists also make sure that all equipment is ready and working correctly and that supplies are available.
Some radiologic technologists take additional training in diagnostic mammograms for breast cancer screening and become a certified mammography radiologic technologist. They operate specialized x-ray equipment used to detect breast tumors.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologists, computerized tomographic (CT) technologists and ultrasound technologists are specialties within the radiologic technologist field that are described separately in this chapter.
A Radiologic Technologist must undergo minimum placement testing in English or completion of ESL. Often, math and chemistry are prerequisites to starting the program. A Radiologic Technologist must be licensed as a Certified Radiologic Technologist by the California Department of Health Services. To take the State examination, the applicant must have completed a radiologic technologist program offered by a community college, vocational school, hospital or university. Most programs in California are two-year programs leading to a certificate or associate degree and 77 units of college credit. Some programs offer a Bachelor's degree. Most employers also require certification given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Mammogram radiologic technologists must have additional training and be certified by the State. Some clinics and doctors' offices hire radiation technologists with a limited California license to x-ray specific parts of the body, such as head and neck or extremities.
Links to Additional Career Information
California Department of Public Health (916) 445-0931
Radiological Society of North America (630) 571-2670 http://www.rsna.org/
American Society of Radiologic Technologists (800) 444-2778 http://www.asrt.org/
American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (651) 687-0048 http://www.arrt.org/
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