All radiologic technologist jobs have to do with medical imaging or radiation therapy. Members of this profession work in a variety of different environments, ranging from hospitals to independent imaging centers. Radiologic technologists are often categorized based on which imaging and therapeutic technologies they are accustomed to working with. Advancement within the profession can include either a move into a supervisory position or promotion to work with more challenging imaging equipment.
Imaging is crucial to the practice of modern medicine. Medical practice in recent years has tended to promote specialized training in fields related to the practice of medicine, such as pharmacy or radiology. This trend has led to a gradual increase in the technical skill required of members of these professions, meaning that more formal training is often required for this sort of work than was previously the case.
Most radiologic technologist jobs involve working directly under the supervision of a physician. Technologists are trained to safely perform procedures, but these procedures are typically requested by physicians. A large percentage of these jobs are located in hospitals, as hospitals tend to have the resources to purchase and maintain large, powerful, and expensive imaging systems.
Imaging centers have become more common in recent years, and a good number of radiologic technologist jobs are located in them. These centers specialize in performing diagnostic medical imaging procedures. They typically house very sophisticated imaging equipment, allowing clinics and hospitals to rely on their equipment and services, rather than investing in such devices themselves. Work in these centers is similar to work in a hospital setting.
Many radiologic technologists are initially trained to operate a single, specific sort of equipment. More advanced equipment, such as CT scanners, often requires additional training and specialized skill. Technologists also often specialize in particular procedures. Some may focus on mammography, others on conventional x-ray radiography or nuclear medical imaging.
Certain types of radiologic technologist jobs are involved in the administration of radiation for therapeutic rather than diagnostic purposes. They determine the correct amount of radiation to be used. They also administer the therapeutic radiation, although these two specialties are sometimes separate.
Some radiologic technologist jobs involve management and supervision. These jobs are typically held by men and women who have worked their way up through the ranks and have had experience working as ordinary technicians. Men and women at this level may manage imaging centers or therapy programs, and have responsibilities in the areas of business and medicine.