Radiologic Technologist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Radiologic Technologist, or X-Ray Technologist, is a medical professional responsible for using imaging machines and tools to create a map of a patient’s internal tissues and organ systems to assess their overall health. Their duties include explaining procedures to patients, calibrating imaging equipment and preparing results.

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Radiologic Technologist duties and responsibilities

The exact duties of a Radiologic Technologist will vary based on the employer, but most of these professionals perform the following duties:

  • Follow instructions from Physicians regarding which area of the patient’s body needs imaging
  • Talk the patient through the procedure and answer questions to lower their anxiety
  • Correctly position the patient, adjust the imaging equipment to the specified position
  • Prevent unnecessary radiation exposure both to themselves and to the patient
  • Follow correct techniques and procedures such as patient shielding
  • Keep good patient records
  • Maintain radiology supplies inventory by checking stock, anticipating future needs and placing orders
  • Maintain a safe and clean working environment

What does a Radiologic Technologist do?

Radiologic Technologists work at doctors offices, hospitals, labs and imaging centers to operate X-ray, CT, mammogram, sonogram and MRI machines among other imaging equipment. Their role is to coach the patient through a scan and use computers to collect information about their health. Radiologic Technicians are in charge of keeping patients and medical staff safe by appropriately preparing an exam room and outfitting all parties with the necessary protective equipment. 

Radiologic Technologists educate patients about the purpose of the scan and answer questions. They carefully observe the monitor for abnormalities during a scan and produce a detailed report for the attending Doctor to interpret.

Radiologic Technologist skills and qualifications

A great Radiologic Technologist has many soft skills and competencies including the following:

  • A Radiologic Technologist needs communication skills to compassionately and accurately explain to the patient what they are about to experience. They must also be able to clearly communicate test results to doctors and staff. 
  • To be able to calibrate and maintain radiology equipment a Radiologic Technologist needs technical knowledge. Each machine model is different, so a Radiologic Technologist will have to learn and relearn technology as it changes.
  • Patients often feel stressed, frightened and uncomfortable, when this is the case the Radiologic Technologist must be kind and show empathy and patience.
  • Because a Radiologic Technologist spends many hours on their feet, they must have stamina. There are also times when a Radiologic Technologist must physically help patients, which calls for physical strength.
  • A Radiologic Technologist must be detail-orientated and be good at math and science. 
  • A successful Radiologic Technologist must be comfortable interacting with patients and be comfortable with the human body. 

Radiologic Technologist salary expectations

No salary data could be found on Indeed Salaries for the Radiologic Technologist. 

Radiologic Technologist education and training requirements

Radiologic Technologists need to have an associate degree, while some Radiologic Technologists have a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree takes about two years, combining classroom and clinical training. Radiography students take classes on patient care, radiation physics and protection, anatomy, pathology and image evaluation. 

A Radiologic Technologist also needs a valid Radiologic Technologist license. They need to be registered with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART) and have a current BLS for healthcare provider CPR or CRP/AED certification.

Radiologic Technologist experience requirements

Many organizations prefer that a Radiologic Technologist have trauma, fluoroscopy and surgery experience. These types of hands-on experience ensure that the candidate has the knowledge and aptitude to perform the basic tasks of the job. The number of required years of experience as a Radiologic Technologist will vary depending on the advertised position.

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Frequently asked questions about Quality Assurance Professionals

 

What are the daily duties of a Radiologic Technologist?

Depending on where they work, Radiologic Technologists may work irregular schedules during the day or night. They begin their day by reviewing the schedule of scans they need to complete and studying basic information about their patients to help them prepare for the scan. Radiologic Technologists clean the exam rooms, block out light when necessary and set the temperature to ideal conditions for getting a clear image. They welcome patients and tell them about each step in the procedure, often outfitting them with protective gear to limit the impact of any radiation from the scan. 

During a scan, Radiologic Technologists instruct patients on how to move their bodies so they can capture an image of the right organ system. They use computer software to collect results, then share them with a Doctor who will then take over care of the patient.

 

What is the difference between a Radiologic Technologist and a Nurse?

Radiologic Technologists and Nurses are both key members of a patient’s care team, but Radiologic Technologists exclusively operate imaging machinery while Nurses can perform a range of other tasks. Radiologic Technologists communicate with nurses about the patient’s condition, especially considering any accommodations or disabilities that could impact the scanning process. Some Nurses are qualified to act as Radiologic Technologists and may serve both roles. Radiologic Technologists work with patients for short periods of time during their scans, while Nurses may form long-term relationships with patients through the course of their care plan.

 

What are the qualities of a good Radiologic Technologist?

Good Radiologic Technologists are meticulous, focused and cautious people who pay attention to small details to ensure they don’t interfere with the imaging test results. Because a number of external factors can cause problems with imaging tests, Radiologic Technologists must be excellent at following procedures to prepare a patient for their scan. 

Good Radiologic Technologists are tactful and polite when communicating with patients, being careful not to reveal any information about their scan that needs to be interpreted by a Doctor. Because Radiologic Technologists interact so closely with patients, they also need a great bedside manner and interpersonal skills to be successful.

 

Who does a Radiologic Technologist report to?

Radiologic Technologists report directly to the Doctor in charge of a patient’s case. Because Radiologic Technologists don’t have the training to interpret diagnostic results, they work closely with Doctors to share accurate reports about their findings in a scan. Radiologic Technologists may communicate with Doctors about their concerns about the contents of a scan. They also take direction from the Doctor about running follow-up scans and tests for their patient.

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