Radiologic and MRI technologists typically do the following:
- Adjust and maintain imaging equipment
- Precisely follow orders from physicians on what areas of the body to image
- Prepare patients for procedures, including taking a medical history and answering questions about the procedure
- Protect the patient by shielding exposed areas that do not need to be imaged
- Position the patient and the equipment in order to get the correct image
- Operate the computerized equipment to take the images
- Work with physicians to evaluate the images and to determine whether additional images need to be taken
- Keep detailed patient records
Healthcare professionals use many types of equipment to diagnose patients. Radiologic technologists specialize in x-ray, and computed tomography (CT) imaging. Some radiologic technologists prepare a mixture for the patient to drink that allows soft tissue to be viewed on the images that the radiologist reviews. Radiologic technologists might also specialize in mammography. Mammographers use low-dose x-ray systems to produce images of the breast. Technologists may be certified in multiple specialties.
MRI technologists specialize in magnetic resonance imaging scanners. MRI technologists inject patients with contrast dyes so that the images will show up on the scanner. The scanners use magnetic fields in combination with the contrast agent to produce images that a physician can use to diagnose medical problems.
Healthcare professionals who specialize in other diagnostic equipment include nuclear medicine technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists.
An associate’s degree is the most common educational path for radiologic and MRI technologists. Technologists must be licensed or certified in some states; requirements vary by state.
Employment of radiologic and MRI technologists is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As the population grows older, there will be an increase in medical conditions, such as breaks and fractures caused by osteoporosis, which can require imaging to diagnose them.
The median hourly wage for Radiologic Technicians is $ 24.65 in Montana.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Radiologic and MRI Technologists