Radiologic Technologist Vs Technician: Difference, Salary & Requirements

Jan 02, 2019

People interested in careers in radiology have different paths they may follow. There are major differences between radiologic technologists and technicians. This article gives information on some of the differences in education and responsibilities.

Comparing Radiologic Technologists to Radiologic Technicians

Radiologic technologists and technicians both work with radiologic imaging, MRIs and X-rays. However, there are very different ways to reach those titles as well as differences in responsibilities. Below are some comparisons between these two imaging careers.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Radiologic Technologist Associate's Degree $57,450 9%
Radiologic Technician Vocational Training or Associate's $41,070 14%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Radiologic Technologists vs. Technicians

Radiologic technologists and technicians both work in the medical world of imaging. This might include radiography, MRI or X-ray. Both professions involve working with medical patients under the supervision of a physician. Technologists have more education and take on more responsibilities than radiologic technicians.

Radiologic Technologist

Radiologic technologists are expected to earn an associate's degree. The entire program will take at least two years to complete. These employees need to be certified as well as licensed in the states in which they work. Technologists are in charge of the imaging machinery at a hospital or clinic. They maintain the equipment, make minor adjustments and report problems to the proper channels. Technologists follow the orders of a physician to the letter. They talk with patients before procedures and take good notes for the medical records of patients. Technologists properly cover portions of the patient's body to protect them from unnecessary radiation. MRI technologists run magnetic resonance scanners to create images.

Job responsibilities of a Radiologic Technologist include:

  • Following the direction of a physician
  • Checking and maintain radiologic equipment
  • Prepping patients for imaging procedures
  • Keeping proper medical records
  • Protecting patients from unnecessary radiation exposure

Radiologic Technician

Radiological technicians need at least a high school diploma with some job training from a vocational school and work experience. They might also earn an associate's degree. Their work in radiology will be limited to certain things they are allowed to do without supervision. For instance, technicians may process X-rays in the lab. Technologists are expected to keep patients as calm as possible during the procedure as well.

Job responsibilities of a Radiologic Technician include:

  • Shielding patients from unnecessary radiation exposure
  • Processing X-rays through standard methods and using digital computer processes as well
  • Performing general X-ray work under direct supervision of a doctor
  • Explaining the process to patients and move equipment for best exposure
  • Delivering processed X-rays to proper departments for placement in medical records

Related Careers

Those who are interested in radiological technology may also be interested in a career as a cardiac sonographer, aiding heart doctors with ultrasound imaging. Maybe your interest leans toward nuclear medicine and working with patients injected with radioactive drugs and using nuclear chambers for imaging.

Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?