X-Ray Technician Vs Radiologic Technologist: Comparison & Salary

Hospitals and clinics require a lot of personnel to take care of patients. Radiology departments need x-ray technicians and radiologic technologists to function properly. This article compares the two professions and gives some valuable information on each.

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Comparing X-ray Technicians to Radiologic Technologists

Radiological technologists and X-ray technicians both work in medical imaging. Although they work in the same field, they have different functions and responsibilities. Below you will find some information on each career and some important comparisons.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
X-ray Technician Associate's Degree or Bachelor's Degree $43,506 9%
Radiologic Technologist Associate's Degree or Bachelor's Degree $49,275 9%

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of X-ray Technician vs Radiologic Technologist

The field of medical imaging is made up of professionals like radiologic technologists and x-ray technicians. Both professionals work with medical patients under the supervision of a physician. Technologists work with chemicals and various imaging equipment while x-ray technicians deal mostly with an x-ray machine.

X-ray Technicians

Guided by physician's instructions, x-ray technicians take radiographic images of body parts to better see where medical problems are. Technicians communicate closely with patients to help them mentally prepare and ensure they are relaxed throughout the procedure. They also maintain the equipment and keep all parts of the machine clean. X-ray technicians must have at least an associate's degree and a license to be able to work.

Job responsibilities of an X-ray Technician include:

  • Minimize radiation exposure to patients by using shields
  • Perform basic x-rays on chest, hands, arms, legs, knees, etc.
  • Guide patients throughout the process and keep them relaxed
  • Process radiographic film
  • Deliver findings for medical records

Radiologic Technologists

Technologists work with several different imaging methods that may include x-rays, ultrasound, MRIs and PET scans. Radiologic technologists may also be required to use chemicals like iodine and barium to produce clearer images. These professionals need a license or certification and at least an associate's degree, though employers may prefer those with a bachelor's degree.

Job responsibilities of a Radiologic Technologist include:

  • Produce images according to physician's testing orders
  • Check if images may be properly used for diagnostic purposes
  • Collaborate with radiologists and physicians
  • Ensure the working condition of radiologic equipment
  • Follow all radiation safety protocols

Related Careers

If you are inclined to becoming a radiologic technologist, then you might also consider working as a nuclear technologist since both handle imaging equipment and various substances used for diagnosis. On the other hand, becoming a radiation therapist might be another option if you are interested in being an x-ray technician since these professionals also use machines that emit radiation for treatment.

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