Radiologic Technology Program
Brookdale Community College

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Perhaps the most familiar use of x-ray is the diagnosis of broken bones. However medical uses of radiation goes far beyond that. Radiation is used not only to produce images of the interior of the body, but to treat cancer as well. At the same time, the use of imaging techniques that do not involve x-rays, such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance scans is growing rapidly. The term "diagnostic imaging" embraces these procedures, as well as the familiar x-ray.

Radiologic technologies produces x-ray films (radiographs of parts of the human body for use in diagnosing medical problems. They prepare patients for radiographic examinations by explaining the procedure, removing articles such as jewelry, through which x-rays cannot pass, and positioning patients so that the correct parts of the body can be radiographed.

To prevent unnecessary radiation exposure technologists surround the exposed area with radiation protection devices, such as lead shields, or limit the size of the x-ray beam. Radiologic technologists position radiographic equipment at the correct angle and height over the appropriate area of a patient's body.

 

Using instruments similar to a measuring tape, technologists may measure the thickness of the section to be radiographed and set controls on the x-ray unit to produce radiographs of the appropriate density, detail and contrast. They place the x-ray film under the part of the patient's body to be examined and make the exposure. They then remove the film and develop it.

Experienced technologists may perform more complex imaging tests. For flouroscopic procedures, radiographers prepare a solution of contrast medium for the patient to drink, allowing the radiologist, a physician who interprets x-rays, to see soft tissues in the body. Some radiologic technologists who operate computerized tomography scanners to produce cross sectional views of patients are called CT technologists. Others operate imaging equipment that use giant magnets and radio waves rather than radiation to create an image and are called magnetic resonance imaging technologists.

In addition to preparing patients and operating equipment, radiologic technologists keep patient records and adjust and maintain equipment. They may also prepare work schedules, evaluate equipment purchases, or manage a radiology department.

 

Job Outlook:
Job opportunities are expected to remain good. Employment of radiologic technologists is expected to increase much faster than average for all occupations through the year 2006 as the population grows and ages, increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging and therapeutic technology.

Earnings:
In Monmouth County, a full-time salaried radiologic technologist can expect to start at $21 per hour.