Radiologic Technologists and Technicians

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Also known as:
Computed Axial Tomography Technologist, Computed Tomography (CT) Scanner Operator, Radiologic Technician, Registered Radiologic Technologist, Skiagrapher, X-Ray Technician, Computed Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CT/MRI) Technologist, MRI Technologist

Video transcript

One of marvels of modern medicine is the ability to see inside the human body without surgery or other invasive procedures. The experts who operate imaging equipment, such as x-ray machines, cat scans and MRIs, are radiologic technicians. Also called radiographers, their task starts with instructions from a physician to image a specific part of the body.

Patients may be anxious about the procedure and have questions. Technicians need to be good listeners and good communicators. After explaining the process, the technician helps position the patient, as well as the equipment. For some procedures, contrast agents will need to be prepared and administered and administered by injection.

Depending on the type of imaging, special protective gear may be used to save the patient from unnecessary exposure to radiation. Technicians also may need protection, such as lead aprons or shields. The technician sets the equipment for the appropriate detail and contrast and then takes the images.

With x-rays, they develop the film - although this process is increasingly being replaced by computer imaging, a much more efficient and higher-resolution process. While formal training can range from one to four years, two-year associate degree programs are the most common. Employment is mainly in hospitals, doctor's offices, and diagnostic centers.


Take x-rays and CAT scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's bloodstream for diagnostic or research purposes. Includes radiologic technologists and technicians who specialize in other scanning modalities.