What is Medical Imaging and Radiologic Technology?

Medical imaging is a technologically advanced and patient care oriented profession that uses a variety of means, such as sound waves (Sonography), radioactive substances (Nuclear Medicine), magnetic field and radiowaves (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), and x-rays (Radiologic Technology, Computed Tomography) to diagnose disease processes. These are considered foundational components of the medical imaging profession.

Radiologic Technology consists of producing a series of x-ray or radiographic images, known as a radiographic procedure or exam, in hopes of assisting the patient’s physician to detect anatomic and/or physiological abnormalities. These procedures are performed by personnel very knowledgeable in human anatomy and physiology and highly trained to safely use sophisticated digital radiographic equipment. Education institutions, such as Kettering College, with a radiologic technology program, educate and train students in all aspects of the radiography profession. They provide the foundational curriculum for the medical imaging profession and prepare the radiography graduate for advanced imaging education.

What can I do with a radiologic technology degree?

Individuals with a radiologic technology degree have many options following graduation. First, graduates can obtain employment in a wide variety of clinical locations, such as hospitals, clinics, or outpatient centers. Second, radiology graduates can work for a medical equipment company that requires surgical intervention, such as pacemaker insertion or orthopedic repair. Third and most importantly, graduates can continue their education in advanced imaging to become multi-certified and more marketable to employers. They can also combine advanced imaging education with the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Radiology graduates can also further their education to focus on radiology/hospital management or education.

    • What is a radiographer?

      A radiographer, also known as a radiologic technologist, is a highly-trained health care professional who works with computerized imaging equipment to produce diagnostic images of the body and determine the existence and extent of disease. The radiographer also works closely with the radiologist—a physician who specializes in reading and interpreting radiographic images—in performing certain radiographic procedures.

    • What is the role of a radiographer?

      A radiographer performs a wide variety of imaging procedures on all parts of the body by safely dispensing small amounts of ionizing radiation to the patient. The radiographer will discuss the course of the procedure to the patient, evaluate the images for diagnostic value, and instruct the patient as to how the results will be communicated. The overall goal of the radiographer is to produce diagnostic images using the least amount of radiation possible while providing professional and compassionate care to the patient.

    • Do radiographers read x-ray images?

      Absolutely not. Radiographers are not qualified to read and interpret radiographic images, thus placing it outside radiographers’ scope of practice. Radiographers are trained to produce radiographic images and evaluate them for their diagnostic value. It is the role of the radiologist to read and interpret radiographic images. The radiologist is a physician who specializes in reading the exams and diagnosing disease.


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