Medical Imaging Technician: Job Description, Salary & Education

Overview

A medical imaging technician is responsible for using special imaging equipment to perform diagnostic tests and examinations on patients. With this sophisticated medical equipment, a medical imaging technician is able to determine illnesses in patients and aid in their treatment as well. If you wish to work with patients in the diagnostic medical field then becoming a medical imaging technician should be a viable option for you.

Medical imaging technicians are vital to diagnostic medicine and perform an important role as a member of the medical team. Skilled with using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technologies, ultra sounds, X-rays and even nuclear medical equipment, a medical imaging technician can provide physicians and professionals an internal image of the patient that will aid in their diagnosis and treatment.

Education Requirements

Educational qualifications and standards are given a great deal of importance when it comes to jobs in the medical field. This is because when it comes to providing healthcare and treating human lives, a considerable amount of risk is involved so it is important that candidates possess the right academic training and exposure.

Most commonly candidates who are interested in becoming medical imaging technicians opt for an associate’s degree. Programs in medical imaging can last anywhere between 1 to 4 years and can even include certificates or bachelor’s degrees. Technical schools and programs may also be of use when it comes to providing education on medical imaging. During these programs, students may receive practical clinical experience as well where they may get familiar with operating imaging equipment. This is a great opportunity for students to observe how patients are treated as well.

It is recommended that students chose a medical imaging program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. When it comes to specializations like radiology, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology provides information on accredited programs.

When it comes to certification, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists is the authority. Students will be required to successfully clear an exam under their desired specialization. Some states may require candidates to possess a license before they are allowed to start practicing in the medical imaging field – in which case they must inquire carefully research.

Job Duties

The job duties of a medical imaging technician will vary depending on the type of practice, industry and level of experience. For instance, the job duties of a medical imaging technician working in a nuclear medicine facility will vary from that of one working in a hospital. However, listed below you will come across some job duties that are common and generic to most medical imaging technicians. This list should give you a general idea of what to expect.

  1. Receive patients who are scheduled for an imaging procedure and get them ready.
  2. Carefully and thoroughly explain to patients how the procedure works and answer their queries. It is important to make the patients comfortable throughout the procedure.
  3. Plan the suitable imaging technique to run an accurate diagnostic for the physician or doctor.
  4. Ensure that the patient is comfortable and well protected against radiation levels.
  5. Make sure that the equipment is correctly positioned on the patient so as to get an accurate imagine for diagnostic purposes.
  6. Check the image output to ensure that the quality and accuracy are up to par for a diagnostic by the physician. If output lacks clarity or quality then conduct procedure again.
  7. Analyze and study the images to provide preliminary and initial findings which will be of assistance to physicians.
  8. Record and document test results. Each patient’s data must be archived for future reference.
  9. Ensure that operating equipment is well maintained and cared for. Maintaining hygiene is of primary concern.

Career Outlook

The career outlook for medical imaging technicians looks favorable. With their skill and expertise in handing imaging equipment, medical imaging technicians are in great demand in the healthcare and medical sectors. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to be around 44% over the period of 2010 to 2020 (bls.gov). This translates to roughly 23,400 new jobs. According to the same source, the employment growth for nuclear medicine technologists and radiologic technologists is around 19% and 24% respectively.

Salary Prospects

A medical imaging technician can earn an average annual salary of about $53,000 (indeed.com). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), the average annual salary for diagnostic medical sonographers in May 2010 was $64,380 which translates to about $30.95 on an hourly basis. To add to these statistics, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly salary for radiologic technicians in May 2010 was $54,340 which calculates to about $26.13 per hour.

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