What Is A Radiologic Technologist?

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This week is National Radiologic Technology Week, which celebrates radiology, the people who work in the industry, and their important contributions to the field of radiology. One of the great unsung heroes of radiology that we’re taking time to celebrate this week: radiologic technologists. Many people confuse technologists with radiologists, though they have very different functions. Let’s discuss what a radiology technologist does and the difference between rad techs and radiologists.

What is National Radiologic Technology Week?

National Radiologic Technology Week commemorates the discovery of the X-ray. This week celebrates and supports the valuable contributions of radiologic technology to the bigger field of medicine. To celebrate, thank a Radiologic Technologist in your life or use the hashtag #NationalRadTechWeek to share your thanks on social media.

What is a radiologic technologist?

Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging procedures, such as X-rays, MRI scans and CT scans. Some rad techs specialize in modalities such as cardiovascular radiography, mammography, or sonography, while others stick with the growing field of general radiology. Radiologic technologists make up the third-largest group of healthcare professionals.

What do radiologic technologists do?

Radiologic technologists are responsible for both positioning patients during their imaging exam and producing quality images that the radiologist can use to accurately interpret and diagnose the patient. Radiology techs work closely with radiologists who rely on their technologists to ensure that an imaging exam goes smoothly and that accurate, detailed images are provided.

What’s the difference between a radiologic technologist and a radiologist?

Though both radiologic technologists and radiologists have similar sounding titles and work in the field of radiology, their responsibilities are very different. Rad techs work directly with patients to capture imagery using radiation imaging equipment. They prepare patients for imaging procedures such as X-rays and MRIs by positioning the imaging equipment and protect the body from radiation with lead covers and coats. They are the ones you’ll actually interact with during your scans, and the ones who are responsible for capturing the images during your imaging procedure. 

Radiologists are medical doctors whose main job is to “read” the images provided by the technologists and diagnose any abnormalities visible on the scans. Oftentimes, radiologists do not have as much direct interaction with patients as technologists do - in fact, most patients will never see their radiologist. Radiologists work more “behind the scenes”, diagnosing injuries and disease, whereas radiologic technologists work more “front and center”, interacting with patients throughout their entire scan and capturing the images that the radiologist will later examine for diagnosis. 

Our technologists play a huge role in the medical imaging process, and we would be totally lost without them! At BICRAD we’re grateful for our amazing rad techs all year round, but love any extra opportunity to celebrate them. We couldn’t provide the level of service and care we do without them!