||Nature of the
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Monmouth County, a full-time salaried radiologic technologist can expect
to start at $21 per hour.