Diagnostic radiology technologists examine patients to provide images of the body.
A diagnostic radiology technologist is a medical professional who uses radiology techniques to create images of body structures or administer treatment for diseases and conditions. Members of the healthcare industry consider a diagnostic radiology technologist to be a mid-level radiology worker because he is above a radiology technician but below a radiology assistant in level of responsibility and education or experience.
A diagnostic radiology technician may work with ultrasound equipment.
During the course of a typical day, the primary role of a diagnostic radiology technologist is to operate radiology equipment. For example, it may work with an X-ray, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. Employers expect the technician to be familiar with all radiology tools. If there is a problem with the equipment, the technician must alert the other members of the radiology team, help to solve the problem and assist in the purchase of new equipment. The fact that a diagnostic radiologic technologist is so dependent on this type of equipment means that he must be comfortable with the technology.
A diagnostic radiology technician can administer treatment to patients.
Radiology tools are patient tools – that is, the technologist cannot do their job without interacting directly with the patient. Afterwards, a technician also explains the procedures to the patient, gathers medical and personal information, and prepares and positions the patient for the radiology procedure. The technician is responsible for using the information collected to safely administer the test dose or radiology.
Once the diagnostic radiology technologist has completed working with the patient, he or she provides the results to higher-level members of the radiology team, such as the radiology assistant or radiologist. Unlike a radiologic assistant who usually specializes in one area of radiology, technologists cannot offer unofficial initial judgments of image quality or give preliminary interpretations of results. The technologist must not release even basic information about the patient or the patient’s condition to the public without permission.
To become a diagnostic radiology technologist, a minimum of two years of formal training at an accredited facility is required, which usually provides a certificate. In an academic setting, training can last up to four years and can lead to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Typically, a person with a lower-level radiology certificate or degree needs to work as a technician before advancing to technologist status; additional education within the baccalaureate replaces some of the experience the individual would otherwise gain. If desired, the technologist can receive more advanced training and continue toward radiology assistant positions.
Certification in radiology is standard for technologists. Technologists can become certified by passing a formal exam administered by the American Registry of Radiology Technologists.