Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Prospective X-ray Tech Students

This blog is meant to be a resource for people who are considering entering into a career as an x-ray technologist. On the right of the screen you will see several lists of links to websites with information on radiography. Please make use of them, I found them very helpful while researching for my new career.

Those working in radiography go by many names: x-ray tech (short for TECHNOLOGIST not technician!), radiographer, Radiologic Technologist, imaging technologist, Rad Tech and RT. Also, if one chooses to specialize in one of the many modalities within medical imaging, there are still more titles: MR tech, CT tech, sonographer, ultrasound tech, Nuc Med tech, mammographer, cath. lab tech, etc.

First lets talk about the difference between radioLOGY and radioGRAPHY. These two terms are often misused by laypeople, and can cause a lot of confusion if not properly used.

Radiology literally means the study of radation (radio=radiation, ology= study of), but is usually used in reference to the interpretation of diagnostic images, which are obtained in several ways. This interpretation is done by a radioLOGIST, who has gone through many years of medical school and residency and are considered MDs, and rightly so. They receive medical images (aka x-rays) and are able to identify anomalies or pathologies in the patients anatomy. They are paid quite well, but have worked long and hard to get to their position within the medical hierarchy.

RadioGRAPHY, on the other hand is quite different. It is the art/science of producing images of the human body using x-ray radiation. Literally translated it means radiation picture-making (radio=radiation, graphy=representation of an object). It has a long history in medical science, most of which I will not go into here, and has been used in many ways to diagnose and even treat human diseases. An x-ray technologist, or radiographer, is the person who works with the patient to produce a quality x-ray image of a specified body part or system. X-ray techs must be educated in a number of different subjects (human anatomy, radiation safety, patient positioning, patient care, basic life saving, radiation physics, medical terminology, etc.) in order to properly and safely do their job.

Education and training to become an x-ray tech involves at least 2 years of formal education, which includes classroom instruction and clinical experience. Once the education has been completed, the student is eligible to take the national board exam given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to become licenced to practice radiography. Some states require an additional exam to be certified in their state, however usually the national exam is sufficient to find work.

Time management, computer skills and patient interaction are all big parts of being an x-ray technologist. When a patient enters the Radiology Department, the x-ray tech is responsible getting their procedure done in a safe and timely manner. Although most imaging procedures are relatively non-invasive, some require patients to undergo intravenous injection, sedation, colonic retrograde filling (contrast enemas) and urethral catheterization. These procedures are often very uncomfortable and embarassing for the patient, so it is important that the x-ray tech have the ability to empathize with the patients and make their experience as pain and discomfort free as possible.

Technology has become a very important part of medical imaging. General radiography is no longer the only imaging modality employed in the medical field. CT (computed tomography), MR (magnetic resonance), ultrasound, PET (positron emission tomography), DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry), nuclear medicine, mammography and vascular radiography are all commonly used to diagnose disease today. Radiography is one of the fastest growing and advancing areas of medicine due, in large part, to advances made in imaging technology. Inventions like high speed computers, expanded memory servers, the internet, high resolution monitors, and digital photography have all had an effect on how medical imaging is used. So it is very important the x-ray technologist stays familiar with new advancements and makes an effort to continually learn throughout his or her career.

Hopefully this first post has given you at least a basic understanding of radiography and what a career as an x-ray technologist is all about. I will continue to update this blog periodically with new posts on various subjects regarding radiography. **See below this post for additional postings.** You may also consider visiting my other blog, Desert Imaging: An X-ray Tech Student in Phoenix, which chronicals my progress through a radiography program at a school in Phoenix, AZ.

Also, please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns you have regarding radiography or this site. My email address is arizonadb2005 @ yahoo dot com. I have written it a little strangely to avoid getting spam.


Anonymous kristen said...

Hey Dustin! This blog was a great idea. is another good radiology website and has message boards if you want to add it to your list of links.

Have a wonderful weekend!

8:42 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Eve C. said...

Very informative! Two thumbs up! How do you make the time for school, studying, and two blogs???
Give me your secrets please!!!! Have a happy week!!!

10:17 PM, July 10, 2006  
Anonymous Mike said...

So, I think you need to add a few links to this site :P Firstly, you could always add my blog ...

not 100% dedicated to my life as an x-ray student / soon to be tech, but facets of everyday life do slip in.

You *definately* need this link that I found the other day for understanding basic MRI physics:

scroll down and click on the "" link.

Maybe a few Canadian links in here, too, eh? :P There's the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (, the Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (, and Ontario's regulatory body, the College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario ( --> they are the ones that set up all the legal schmegal stuff in Ontario that protects the public.

What else do I have that's cool? (very useful for learning the liver in 3-D) (more MRI physics)

That'll give you a few things to add to your site, at least - this one or your personal one *shrug*

9:04 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger ArizonaDB said...


Thanks so much for all the great links. You've done all my work for me. :-)


11:35 AM, July 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your valuable information.

It was really of use to me.


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10:28 PM, February 15, 2009  

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