A Radiologic Technologist (Rad Tech) takes images of patients for use in diagnosing health problems such as diseases and broken bones. To do this, a Rad Tech explains the procedure to the patient, positions the equipment and patient, and then takes and develops films, making sure they are of proper quality. For imaging soft tissues of the body, experienced Rad Techs prepare solutions for patients to drink. During the entire process, a Rad Tech is aware of the patient's physical, emotional and mental states. Rad Techs also maintain equipment and patient records, and depending on their position and work setting, may recommend equipment for purchase or manage a department. Rad Techs are responsible for adhering to strict regulations for the use of radiation, including protection of the patient and environment.
Radiologic technology satisfies my desire to both help people and be involved with new emerging technologies. Imagine, just five years ago, most imaging was conducted with film processors using wet developing solutions and film. Now, most radiologic technologists are using computed or digital radiography sending images to computer network systems enabling a radiologist located anywhere near a computer to interpret the image. Overall, the fact that I can see the results of my work in seconds is my version of wow!
The best thing about my job is the variety of the work and the challenges of imaging patients. I have the opportunity to meet several patients during the day each with their own specific imaging needs. Some say, "no two days are alike". I would certainly agree as each day I come to work, something is always different giving opportunities to further my imaging skills. I get to visit different areas of the hospital and image in a wide variety of situations. I am never bored and always learning something new. There is no rut in my profession, just challenges!
Thomas King, BSRS RT (R)
Clinical Instructor for Radiography-Medical Imaging Program
In addition to basic health care knowledge, some of the vital characteristics of a Rad Tech are attention to detail, an understanding of proper use of hazardous materials, manual dexterity, ability to operate and maintain sophisticated equipment, and sensitivity to patients. As part of a health care team, Rad Techs follow physicians' orders and work closely with radiologists, physicians who examine the images and form a diagnosis.
Specialty areas of Rad Techs include mammography, bone densitometry, CTs (computed tomography) and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) both which give three-dimensional images of the body and radiation therapy which is for cancer treatment and other diseases. Imaging also presents an alternative to "open surgery" with the use of catheters and other tools that go through the body.
Video Description of Radiologic Technologist
Source: CareerOneStop (U.S. Department of Labor)
Where Rad Techs Work
Rad Techs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics and diagnostic imaging centers and labs.
Rad Techs must complete an associate's (two-year) or a bachelor's (four-year) educational program. For Rad Tech educational programs, see the Oregon Employment Department's (OED) page on Rad Techs:
Career Pathway Roadmaps
To practice in Oregon, program graduates must pass the national exam, then apply for licensure. See:
Rad Tech Earnings
The OED reports that in 2011, the average hourly wage for Rad Techs was $35.47 and the average annual salary was $73,798 in Oregon.
I chose this profession because it is a blend of caring for people and working with cutting-edge technology in the treatment of cancer patients.
The best thing about being a Radiation Therapist is seeing patients everyday for up to 2 months and experiencing the development of that relationship.
Carrie Whitlock, BS R.T. (R)(T)
Salem Cancer Institute, Salem Health
Employment Outlook for Rad Techs
The OED estimates that between 2010 and 2020, there will be 1,098 job openings for Rad Techs in Oregon.
Occupations with Skills Similar to Rad Techs
Rad Techs have high overlap in skills with Diagnostic Medical Sonographers & Ultrasound Technologists, Radiation Therapists, and Nuclear Medicine Technologists. Other occupations that have skill overlap with Rad Techs include Cardiovascular Techs and Respiratory Therapy Techs.
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