Career Development

What Does a Radiographer Do?

Find out what a radiographer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a radiographer.

Radiographers are responsible for taking and interpreting images of the human body. They use X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scans, ultrasound, and other types of imaging technology to create detailed pictures of internal organs, bones, tissues, and more.

Radiographers work closely with physicians and other medical professionals to ensure that their findings are accurate and useful in diagnosing and treating patients’ conditions.

Radiographer Job Duties

Radiographers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Administering contrast agents to patients prior to taking x-rays or other imaging tests, in order to improve image quality
  • Operating radiographic equipment such as X-ray machines, MRI scanners, CT scanners, ultrasound machines, nuclear medicine equipment, and fluoroscopy equipment
  • Preparing patients for examinations by explaining test procedures and ensuring patient comfort during procedures
  • Performing diagnostic imaging procedures such as computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), and ultrasound examinations
  • Reading diagnostic imaging studies to determine if they are diagnostic or to locate possible areas of concern
  • Preparing patients for exams by administering contrast agents or putting them into position for scanning
  • Communicating with physicians about results of tests and the need for follow-up procedures
  • Recording patient information in medical records such as name, age, address, date of birth, next of kin, and physician’s name
  • Preparing equipment for use by cleaning and sterilizing it according to protocol

Radiographer Salary & Outlook

Radiographers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)

The employment of radiographers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Radiographers will be needed in hospitals and other healthcare facilities to read x-rays, CAT scans, and other types of imaging tests. As the large baby-boom population ages, more people are expected to have medical conditions that require imaging tests. In addition, technological advances should allow radiographers to read imaging tests more quickly, which should result in greater demand for their services.

Related: Radiographer Interview Questions and Answers

Radiographer Job Requirements

There are a number of requirements for becoming a radiographer, which may include:

Education: Radiographers need at least an associate’s degree to work in a hospital or clinic. They can earn a two-year degree in diagnostic medical imaging or a similar field. These programs include courses in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and radiology.

Training & Experience: Radiographers receive on-the-job training from their employers after they are hired. This training may last for a few weeks or a few months, depending on the facility. During this training, a radiographer will learn about the facility’s policies and procedures, including how to use the imaging equipment and how to file reports.

Certifications & Licenses: Radiographers must earn a certification to work in the industry.

Radiographer Skills

Radiographers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication Skills: As a radiographer, you’ll be interacting with patients and their families, doctors and other medical professionals on a daily basis. Excellent communication skills are essential in order to ensure that everyone involved in the patient’s care has the information they need.

Attention to detail: Radiographers must have excellent attention to detail to ensure they accurately interpret medical images. They must be able to identify any abnormalities in the images and accurately record them. This requires precise measurements and accurate recording of the images.

Compassion: Radiographers often work with patients who are experiencing pain or discomfort. Having compassion for these patients can help radiographers remain calm and focused during procedures. Radiographers with compassion can also help patients feel more comfortable during their time in the imaging room.

Dexterity: The ability to use both hands equally is an important skill for a radiographer. They often need to use both hands to operate the equipment and adjust the patient’s position. This is especially true when taking images of the brain or other areas of the body that are difficult to reach.

Patience: Patience is another skill that radiographers should have. They often work with patients who are in pain and need to remain still for long periods of time. Radiographers should be able to work with patients to keep them calm and still so they can get the best images possible.

Radiographer Work Environment

Radiographers work in hospitals, clinics, and private offices. They are exposed to infectious diseases and may be exposed to radiation. They work with patients who are often in pain, and they must be able to handle emotional stress. They work with hazardous materials and must follow safety precautions. They work with sophisticated equipment and must be able to operate it correctly. They work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. They may be on call.

Radiographer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how radiographers work. Radiographers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Virtual Reality in Healthcare

The use of virtual reality (VR) in healthcare is becoming increasingly popular, as it offers a number of benefits that can be used to improve patient care. One such benefit is the ability to provide patients with a more realistic experience during procedures, which can help to reduce anxiety and pain.

Radiographers can take advantage of this trend by becoming familiar with VR technology and how it can be used in healthcare settings. This will allow them to provide better care for their patients and help to improve the overall experience.

More Focus on Preventative Care

As preventative care becomes more important in the medical field, radiographers will need to focus on developing skills that support this trend.

One area where radiographers can focus their efforts is on early detection of diseases and conditions. By developing skills in image analysis and interpretation, radiographers can help doctors and other medical professionals identify potential problems before they become serious. In addition, radiographers can also focus on educating the public about the importance of preventative care.

Greater Collaboration Between Radiologists and Other Specialists

Radiologists are increasingly collaborating with other specialists in order to provide the best possible care for their patients. This trend is likely to continue as hospitals and clinics look for ways to cut costs while still providing high-quality care.

As radiologists collaborate with other specialists, they will need to learn how to work together to create a cohesive treatment plan for each patient. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with other members of the healthcare team in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

How to Become a Radiographer

Radiographers have a lot of options when it comes to their career path. They can specialize in one area, such as mammography or computed tomography (CT) scanning; they can work in different settings, such as hospitals, clinics, or private practices; and they can even move into management positions.

No matter what direction they choose, radiographers should stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques. They can do this by attending continuing education courses and workshops, reading professional journals and newsletters, and networking with other professionals.

Advancement Prospects

Radiographers may advance to supervisory or managerial positions in larger facilities. Some radiographers become instructors in radiography programs. Some radiographers with additional education may become nuclear medicine technologists, computed tomography technologists, or magnetic resonance imaging technologists. Others may move into sales or marketing of radiographic equipment or supplies.

Radiographer Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide high-quality diagnostic imaging services to our patients and referring physicians. We are currently seeking a radiographer to join our team. The ideal candidate will be a graduate of an accredited radiography program and be licensed or eligible for licensure in the state of [State]. He or she will have strong communication and customer service skills, as well as the ability to work independently. The radiographer will be responsible for performing a variety of diagnostic imaging examinations, as well as providing quality patient care.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Adhere to all safety protocols while performing radiographic procedures
  • Position patients and equipment properly to obtain optimal images while minimizing exposure
  • Select the proper technical factors for each procedure
  • Operate x-ray equipment in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
  • Perform quality control checks on a regular basis to ensure that the equipment is functioning properly
  • Maintain accurate patient records and documentation
  • Keep abreast of new developments in the field by attending continuing education courses and seminars
  • Assist the radiologist in performing more complex procedures
  • Prepare contrast media and administer it to patients when necessary
  • Provide emotional support to patients who may be anxious or fearful
  • Help transport patients to and from the radiology department
  • Clean and maintain the work area and equipment

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Radiography or related field
  • ARRT certification
  • State licensure as a radiographer
  • Minimum 1 year experience as a radiographer
  • Excellent communication, customer service, and time-management skills
  • Ability to maintain composure under pressure

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • 2+ years experience as a radiographer
  • CT certification
  • MRI certification
  • Proficiency in Spanish or another language
  • Exceptional organizational skills


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