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Radiology Careers

¨  What subjects do you need to become an X-ray technician?
¨  Radiological technician training
¨  Advice for X-ray technologist program admission
¨  What type of schooling and training do I need to become an x-ray technician?
¨  How long does it take to become a ultrasound technician?
¨  What is the average pay for a radiologic technician in the U.S.?
¨  What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an X-ray tech?
¨  How do I become an X-ray tech?
¨  What salary does an X-ray tech make?
¨  How does one become an R.T.M.R. after being an R.T.R.?
¨  Interview questions for radiology program admissions
¨  A profession in medical imaging technology
¨  What type of schooling and training do I need to become an x-ray technician?
¨  Difficulty of X-ray tech admissions test for someone out of school +25 years
¨  Advice for X-ray technologist program admission
¨  Radiological technician training
¨  How can I convince my mom that an X-ray technician is a great career?
¨  Do you need to be interested in biology & physics to do well in radiology?
¨  How can I get through the physics part of my coursework?
¨  What is the difference between an X-ray technician and a radiologist?
¨  Can you study by yourself and then take an MRI exam?
¨  What is the syllabus of the qualifying exams for Canadian certification for MRI technician?
¨  How long does it take to become an ultrasound technician?
¨  What is the syllabus of the qualifying exams for Canadian certification.
¨  How many different positions are there to specialize in, in the field of radiography?
¨  What are the most common duties for a radiology technician?
¨  What is the difference between Limited Medical Radiologic Technician, and a Radiology Tech?
¨  What is the difference between a radiology diploma and a radiology certification?
¨  Do radiologists have an increased risk of getting cancer?

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QUESTION:
What subjects do you have to study to become an X-ray technician?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 4 December 2002:
The basic sciences such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry and of course Math and English.  It will depend on which post-secondary institution you plan to attend.  Here in Alberta you require the following as listed from the NAIT [Northern Alberta Institute of Technology] website: http://www.nait.ab.ca/

Be aware however, that though it states that the average needed is 60%, in actuality it is much higher because of the competition to get into the program is great and it has many applicants and only a few spots.  The best and the brightest or the most determined are usually successful.But I know of many who the first time applying did not get in, but kept applying and researching the profession to prove they were serious about the profession and eventually were rewarded and got in.  And actually, those people make the best technicians.  Great marks definitely help you get in easier, but if you are determined, you can do anything.

Lisa Pyke
Medical Radiological Technologist
St. Albert, Alberta, Canada

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QUESTION:
I have a high school diploma and I have just gotten out of the military.  How long does a typical Radiological Technician program last?  Do I need any other education to be eligible for this program?  What type of program is the best from an employer's point of view (4-year university, 2-year community college course, tech school, etc.)?  Is it very difficult to be accepted into an RT program?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 3 February 2003:
Here in Canada, the programs range from 2 years straight through to a 4 year university degree program.  Most of Canada is adopting the degree model except for a few holdouts like Alberta, where I live.

There is of course pros and cons to both.  With the 4 year degree program the tech should be prepared to handle more supervisory roles, however how many supervisors does a department need?  With the two year Diploma program the tech is competent and able to to perform all the same duties as the "degree" tech.  The 4 year degree tech may expect to be paid more money than the 2 year diploma tech.  With the 4 year program you have the freedom to work anywhere in the world, as many countries such as the United Kingdom have long had the degree model.

A background strong in the sciences is a needed, especially physics, biology and chemistry.  Basic life support and cardiac pulmonary resuscitation are also a great thing on any resume.  As well, an interest in helping others will be helpful to your cause.  I am sure your training and experience in the military will help you towards your goal.

I know the RT programs can be difficult to get into, as often is the case when something is worth going after.  But, persevere.  If you don't get in the first time keep applying.  If you are turned down, be forward and honest and ask the selection person what was the reason that you were not selected, then take that information and remedy whatever it was that they stated was the reason.

Explain to the selection committee your determination to become an RT and inform them that you will apply again and would really find it helpful if they could explain their selection criteria to you.  Also, remember to be humble and thankful for all their information and assistance.

Lisa Pyke
Medical Radiological Technologist
Alberta, Canada

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QUESTION:
I am applying for acceptance in an X-ray tech program.  I am extremely nervous and could use some tips on what they are looking for in an individual to know that they would make a good candidate for the program.  I applied last year and was close to making the admissions cutoff.  I am now very anxious.

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 31 March 2003:
They look for many things.  Persistence helps, so let them know you went through the process last year and are eager to become an X-ray tech.

They look for inter-personal skills and strengths like:
- communication skills
- empathy/compassion
- the ability to multi-task and good organization skills
- strong physics and biology background
- attention to detail and accuracy
- good listening skills (it is important to listen to the patients needs and the doctor's requests)
- flexible and adaptable
- enthusiastic work habits
- self starters
- positive, motivated and energetic
- interest in continuing education and professional development
- enjoys challenges and new learning opportunities
- someone who finds the good in any situation and takes from it a learning opportunity to better themselves personally and professionally

They may ask you :
What made you decide that career?
Why would you be a good tech?
What do you have to offer?
What are your long term goals?
What have you done to prepare for this interview?
They may also give you situations that test your ability to deal with adversity, challenges, difficult people, ethics, etc.

Good luck, most of all be honest and be true to yourself.  Don't be afraid to let them know that this is your second time applying and that you are very serious about becoming a X-ray tech.

Good luck,

Lisa Pyke
Radiological Technologist
Alberta, Canada

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QUESTION:
What type of schooling and training do I need to become an x-ray technician?

ANSWER from Michelle Mock on 29 July 2003:
The training and certification that you need to become an X-Ray technician would vary depending on where you live and what type of job you are looking for.  You can find out this information from a local college, university or trade school.  You can also look at the hospitals, medical offices, dental offices in your area and ask them what they require.  You can also look on Google.com for more information.  Here are some of the links I found doing a quick search for: x-ray technician qualifications.

http://www.cincitrades.org/X-ray%20Technician.htm

http://www.mhr.ab.ca/jobs/DIAGNOSTIC%20SERVICES/
Combined%20Laboratory%20&%20Xray%20Technicians.htm

http://www.hr.uconn.edu/0212.html

http://www.usc.edu/dept/personnel/desc/191019.htm

You can also do a search on: radiologist or radiology.  I hope this helps.

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QUESTION:
How long does it take to become a ultrasound technician?  Can anyone recommend me a school?

ANSWER from Andrea Feaster on 18 October 2005:
If you are interested in learning more about the field of an ultrasound technician, please look through our Question and Answer archives.  You will find many similar questions there.  Unfortunately we are unable to recomend any specific school.  You will need to research specific institutions and make decisions based on your unique situation.

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QUESTION:
What is the average pay for a radiologic technician in the U.S.?

ANSWER from Andrea Feaster on 17 October 2005:
Unfortunately we are unable to answer questions related to pay.  Pay varies from from one region to another and the variations in pay scale are great.  In addition to location, experience and qualifications will also significantly affect the pay scale.  I would encourage you to research pay rates in your field of interest in various regions at various levels of expertise and take the average of your findings.  We appologize for the inconvenience and wish you luck in your research.

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QUESTION:
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an x-ray tech?  Can you work as an x-ray tech while pregnant?  What kind of hours would you work?  What the responsibilities of an x-ray tech?  How much to x-ray tech usually earn per hour?  Where can you get hired as an x-ray tech?  What are some websites I can go to about x-ray technicians and get more information about what they do?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 31 August 2005:
Advantages:
You have flexibility to work anywhere: hospital, clinic, mobile, operating room, emergency, specials, CAT scan, bone density, etc.  You can work part-time, full-time, casual.  You can work evening, days, nights: great if you're trying to raise a family and cut down on daycare cost or going to university part-time.  Good wages: depending on where you live and facility anywhere from $15-$35 hourly.  Usually protected by a union contract.

Disadvantages:
Competition for good jobs.  You have to do your "time".  Working shift work; depends on how you view it.  You might "have" to be in a union.

Yes, you can work while pregnant: BUT, you must follow safety guidelines.

Responsibilities:
Many: accuracy to detail, communication skills, consistency, good judgement, ethical decision making.  You are dealing with people of all ages, states of mind, illness and ethnic groups.  ALL your patients deserve the very best treatment and care without bias or prejudice.

Web sites:
Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
http://www.camrt.ca/
American Society of Radiologic Technologists
http://www.asrt.org/
Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic & Therapeutic Technologists (ACMDTT)
http://www.aamrt.org/
AuntMinnie.com
http://www.auntminnie.com/

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QUESTION:
I am in the 12th grade and wondered what I need to do to be an x-ray tech.

ANSWER from Roger Herzler on 28 August 2005:
First, study math and biology as much as possible in High School.  You can almost never go too high in math when dealing with science related careers.

Second, talk to your biology teacher(s) in school and see if they have experience with the career or can put you in direct contact with someone in the field.

Finally, you should contact the Radiology Department at your local hospital and ask to speak to someone there about your career goals.  I'm sure they will provide you with a lot of insight.  NOTE: Most hospital departments are quite busy, so offer them the chance to schedule a better meeting time to talk to you about it so that you get the most information possible (and you're not rushed off the phone).  Be polite, but persistent.  It's never too early to make a good impression.  You never know: If you present yourself right you could find yourself working there one day.

A search of websites about the career turned up few "good" results in the top search hits on Google.  This website from the Bureau of Labor Statistics seemed good though and probably worth your read: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos105.htm

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QUESTION:
After I get my X-ray tech degree I want to keep advancing in the health care field.  Is that possible?  Such as MRI/sleep tech/ultrasound.  What kind of salary does an X-ray technician make and once you are advanced into other fields what kind of salary can you make?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 24 August 2005:
X-ray is a very rewarding career and has a lot of variety, emergency to operating room to mammograpghy.  But I found that MRI is a very interesting career path, especially if you seek a challenge.  Salary: depends on where you are located and hospital vs private clinic.  I can support my family on what I make very comfortably!  Good luck with you studies and keep your ears open to every tidbit of info your professors give you.

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QUESTION:
I understand that to become an MRI tech one first has to become an X-ray tech.  How does one become an R.T.M.R. after being an R.T.R.?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 24 August 2005:
Well, that depends on where you are from and are planning to work and live.  In Canada, you currently need to be a Medical Radiation Technologist (Nuc Med or X-ray Tech) prior to going into MRI.  However, very recently, Alberta, Canada has created an MRI program that you do not need this RTR prerequisite.  In fact you can apply immediately after high school.  It is controversial at the moment and remains to be seen if the technologists graduating will be accredited by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists.  These new students may not be permitted to practice anywhere in Canada except Alberta if they do not receive accreditation from the CAMRT.It will be interesting to see the outcome as it will have ripples that will steer the industry.

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QUESTION:
I am a prospective student for a radiology program.  The program I have applied for requires an interview and I was wondering if you could help me with possible questions they might ask and short answers to those questions.  Also, what could be a couple of good questions I could ask them without coming across intrusive or cocky?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 11 September 2004:
I would love to help.  It is hard of me to suggest answers to the questions as these should be personal and come from your own words.  Here are a few of the questions that I was asked when I had a panel interview to become a rad tech.

Why do you want to become a rad tech?
What do you expect the most challenging aspect of training to be?
What strengths do you possess that will help you be a good technologist?
What are your weaknesses?
What would you do in certain sticky situations such as dealing with child abuse, a rape victim, a suspected rapist and how would you protect these patients' rights?

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QUESTION:
My interest has been sparked in becoming a CAT SCAN tech.  I've been surfing on the Internet to get some info on schools to no avail.  Is it possible for you to lead me in the right direction as to what schools are good around here for this profession?  I would love to hear any input as to how you enjoy your career, and what you think the future holds for this endeavour?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 1 October 2003:
Congratulations on looking into the field of Medical Imaging Technology.  To perform as a computer tomography technologist you need to be a registered radiation technologist.  These educational program are usually found across the country in many cities and states.Try looking online for the American radiography technologist programs or radiation technologist or a rad tech.  As well there are National and State American Registries that license the Technologists and they would have lists of the programs and schools that educate technologists.

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QUESTION:
What type of schooling and training do I need to become an x-ray technician?

ANSWER from Michelle Mock on 29 July 2003:
The training and certification that you need to become an X-Ray technician would vary depending on where you live and what type of job you are looking for.  You can find out this information from a local college, university or trade school.  You can also look at the hospitals, medical offices, dental offices in your area and ask them what they require.  You can also look on Google.com for more information.  Here are some of the links I found doing a quick search for: x-ray technician qualifications.

http://www.mhr.ab.ca/jobs/DIAGNOSTIC%20SERVICES/Combined%20Laboratory%20&%20Xray%20Technicians.htm

http://www.hr.uconn.edu/0212.html

http://www.usc.edu/dept/personnel/desc/191019.htm

You can also do a search on: radiologist or radiology.  I hope this helps.

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QUESTION:
I'm in the "in-between" spot of losing my job because of a merger.  How difficult is the aptitude test for radiation technologist school for someone who has been out of school for over 25 years?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 1 May 2003:
It is a basic kind of aptitude test that tests the way you think.  It reviews your reading comprehension and math skills.  If you have been working and "thinking" in the real world, you will have no problems with the test at all.  Don't underestimate what your life experience has taught you.

Good luck with your new career.

Lisa Pyke
Radiological Technologist
Alberta, Canada

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QUESTION:
I am applying for acceptance in an X-ray tech program.  I am extremely nervous and could use some tips on what they are looking for in an individual to know that they would make a good candidate for the program.  I applied last year and was close to making the admissions cutoff.  I am now very anxious.

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 31 March 2003:
They look for many things.  Persistence helps, so let them know you went through the process last year and are eager to become an X-ray tech.

They look for inter-personal skills and strengths like:
- communication skills
- empathy/compassion
- the ability to multi-task and good organization skills
- strong physics and biology background
- attention to detail and accuracy
- good listening skills (it is important to listen to the patients needs and the doctor's requests)
- flexible and adaptable
- enthusiastic work habits
- self starters
- positive, motivated and energetic
- interest in continuing education and professional development
- enjoys challenges and new learning opportunities
- someone who finds the good in any situation and takes from it a learning opportunity to better themselves personally and professionally

They may ask you:
What made you decide that career?
Why would you be a good tech?
What do you have to offer?
What are your long term goals?
What have you done to prepare for this interview?
They may also give you situations that test your ability to deal with adversity, challenges, difficult people, ethics, etc.

Good luck, most of all be honest and be true to yourself.  Don't be afraid to let them know that this is your second time applying and that you are very serious about becoming a X-ray tech.

Good luck,
Lisa Pyke
Radiological Technologist
Alberta, Canada

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QUESTION:
I have a high school diploma and I have just gotten out of the military.  How long does a typical Radiological Technician program last?  Do I need any other education to be eligible for this program?  What type of program is the best from an employer's point of view (4-year university, 2-year community college course, tech school, etc.)?  Is it very difficult to be accepted into an RT program?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 3 February 2003:
Here in Canada, the programs range from 2 years straight through to a 4 year university degree program.  Most of Canada is adopting the degree model except for a few holdouts like Alberta, where I live.

There is of course pros and cons to both.  With the 4 year degree program the tech should be prepared to handle more supervisory roles, however how many supervisors does a department need?  With the two year Diploma program the tech is competent and able to to perform all the same duties as the "degree" tech.  The 4 year degree tech may expect to be paid more money than the 2 year diploma tech.  With the 4 year program you have the freedom to work anywhere in the world, as many countries such as the United Kingdom have long had the degree model.

A background strong in the sciences is a needed, especially physics, biology and chemistry.  Basic life support and cardiac pulmonary resuscitation are also a great thing on any resume.  As well, an interest in helping others will be helpful to your cause.  I am sure your training and experience in the military will help you towards your goal.

I know the RT programs can be difficult to get into, as often is the case when something is worth going after.  But, persevere.  If you don't get in the first time keep applying.  If you are turned down, be forward and honest and ask the selection person what was the reason that you were not selected, then take that information and remedy whatever it was that they stated was the reason.

Explain to the selection committee your determination to become an RT and inform them that you will apply again and would really find it helpful if they could explain their selection criteria to you.  Also, remember to be humble and thankful for all their information and assistance.

Lisa Pyke
Medical Radiological Technologist
Alberta, Canada

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QUESTION:
I am interested in becoming an x-ray technician, however my mother feels that it's a waste of time.  I would like to know the rewards of the job and what I can tell her to convince her that it is a great career.

ANSWER from Michelle Mock on 12 December 2005:
When it comes to choosing our future career, it is up to us to make the decision and we don't have to convince anyone, even our parents, that it is a great career.  Do what you love and you'll be happy.  You can't please others when it comes to this.  You are still too young to make any final decisions about a career.  What you should be doing now is concentrating on your current studies (math, science and language will all be extremely important to your future).  When you enter college, you can refine your goals.  You will still have to take many courses that are not specific for any one career.

Many people go to work while they continue their education.  If you really want to do something like becoming an X-ray tech, you might want to look at what is offered at some of the private trade schools.  Sometimes you can gain the skills necessary to enter a medical career and start working while you are still going to the university working towards a degree.  Sometimes, if you get your foot in the field, you can decide if it is what you like or if you want to change careers and go in another direction.  You can change your mind at any time.  You aren't wasting your time if you do that.  You might be learning more about yourself in the process.  Many people follow several different career paths during their life.  Others spend years and years working towards a career that they think they should pursue and when they actually start doing it, they find they hate it.  So, keep your mind open, study hard, and follow your heart.

Our expert Lisa Pyke has answered many questions similar to yours. Please review our archives.  You can also use the Google search at our Imagiverse home page to look for x-ray, tech or Lisa Pyke, and you should be able to easily find Lisa's many answers.  If you have not done so already, please read her interview:

http://imagiverse.org/interviews/lisapyke/lisa_pyke_26_06_02.htm

Thank you for writing to Imagiverse.  Best of luck in the future!  We hope to hear from you again.

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QUESTION:
I have just finished reading the interview with Lisa Pyke.  I am looking into becoming an x-ray tech but I am not sure if it is for me.  Do you need to be interested in biology & physics to do well in this career?

ANSWER from Bonnie J. Walters on 21 January 2006:
If you just put x-ray technician into your search bar when you are on the Internet, thousands of links come up.  Look for the ones that describe the job and career, not the schools.  The classes are mainly radiology and biology.  Think about it.  You are taking pictures of the human body and definitely need to know what's where and what it looks like inside the body.  As far as physics goes, you would need to look at the individual college curriculums.  Go to a college near you and ask a career counselor.

Good luck,
Bonnie J. Walters

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QUESTION:
I will be attending a Radiology Technician school in 3 weeks and as of tonight the prayers begin and only God knows how I will get through the physics part of the course.  Can you PLEASE guide me?

ANSWER from Roger Herzler on 24 February 2006:
I don't know how much actual help we can provide other than encouragement.  Math, physics and the like are often very dependent on your personal talents in those areas, your study time, and what your level of knowledge is coming into the course.  If the school has not given you a placement exam to determine your level of readiness for the course, I would strongly suggest you ask them for one.

If you're significantly worried about the class, take a deep breath and understand that others with equal strengths and weaknesses have gone before you and triumphed over such demons.  For example, I managed to get my way through Calc III (vector calculus) despite my dismal record in math in high school (including an F in Calc I).  I found it to be more of a state of mind, a dedication to completing it, and of course good instructors.

Take a deep breath, maybe talk your concerns over with the course instructor, start to read extra materials your instructor may suggest, maybe even pick up something like "Physics for Dummies" assuming that book exists, and relax.  Believe you can do it, and chances are you'll be successful.  Try to get out ahead of your fears and get as much information as you can.  "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail."  Good luck!

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QUESTION:
What is the difference between an X-ray technician and a radiologist?  What are the differences subject/class wise and career wise?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 16 April 2006:
Generally, an X-ray technician is the person who takes the X-rays.  A radiologist is a medical doctor who reads and interprets the X-rays.  For more information on a career in radiology, here are some sites which may help.  Imagiverse is not affiliated with these sites nor can we vouch for the accuracy of information contained therein.  However, we do believe that it will give you some additional information to help you in your continuing research.  You will notice that titles, terms and training differs from one country to another.

http://www.unixl.com/dir/medical_sciences/radiology/
http://www.suht.soton.ac.uk/Careers/clinical_radiology.htm
http://www.sonographersmedical.co.uk/Qualifications.htm
http://www.radiologyinfo.org/content/careers/careers_diag.htm
http://www.umm.edu/radiology/doc.htm

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QUESTION:
Can you just take an MRI course and study a book and then take an exam?  Without anything else.  And if you know someone that did it that way what do you suggest?  Thank you, just looking out for the best interests for the patients.

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 12 June 2006:
Of course you can study something and take an exam.  However, that does not mean you would necessarily be qualified to operate an MRI machine.  I believe for all jobs in the medical field you do need "something else".  It really depends on what the course is and what other background and qualifications you have.  I hope this helps.

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QUESTION:
What is the syllabus of the qualifying exams for Canadian certification for MRI technician?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 21 July 2006:
I went to the website of the Canadian Associaton of Medical Radiation Technologists and came upon a section of the site regarding accreditation.  Browse through it and contact people there directly.  They should be the best source for the information you need:

http://www.camrt.ca/english/certification/international_educated.asp

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QUESTION:
How long does it take to become an ultrasound technician?  How much do they make?  How high is the demand for them?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 24 July 2006:
I found the website of the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography in the US.  You should find it useful.  If you aren't in the States, a similar search on Google with keywords like "medical diagnostic sonography careers YOUR_COUNTRY" should give you some good relevant links.

http://www.sdms.org/career/career.asp

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QUESTION:
I am working in Portugal as MRI technician.  I plan to immigrate to Canada.  What is the syllabus of the qualifying exams for Canadian certification?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 26 July 2006:
The Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists based in Ottawa have been working on guidlines and documents for foreign trained MRI technologists.  If you contact the CAMRT through the website, and e-mail Ms. Elaine Dever, as she is the person responsible for educational requirements in the country.  I believe the website also has information to the Syllabus for MRI tech trained in Canada, and the expectation is that you would likely have to complete the same standards and exams.

www.camrt.ca

If you search under certification, you will find a heading for internationally-trained candidates.  I hope this will answer your questions.

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QUESTION:
How many different positions are there to specialize in, in the field of radiography?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 26 July 2006:
Many..... x-ray, emergency, operating room, mamography, CT, MRI, ultrasound, cardiac cath lab, private clinics, bone density, cancer treatment.

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QUESTION:
What are the most common duties for a radiology technician?

ANSWER from Lisa Pyke on 26 July 2006:
Patient care, identifying pathology and modifying techniques to best demonstrate disease, liason between patient, physician, radiologist, other health care providers as well as family.  These are some of the duties, but definitely not all... a lot of paperwork.

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QUESTION:
What is the difference between a Limited Medical Radiologic Technician and a Radiology Tech?  What is the salary for an LMRT, and are there many job opportunities?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 24 September 2006:
Limited medial radiologic technologists are trained to perform routine diagnostic X-ray exams of the skull, extremities and vertebral column.  The emphasis of training is on the anatomy of the human body and the proper positioning of the patient to achieve a quality radiograph.

Radiologic technologists and technicians take x rays and administer nonradioactive materials into patients’ bloodstreams for diagnostic purposes.  Some specialize in diagnostic imaging technologies, such as computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

I think the keyword here is "limited".  As with most careers, there are levels of experience and training.

I am sorry but we can't give you any information on salaries or job opportunities as it can vary greatly from one city/country to another.  This you would have to investigate on your own.  The place where you receive your training should be able to answer both questions for you.

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QUESTION:
What is the difference between a radiology diploma and a radiology certification?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 19 March 2007:
A diploma means that you've passed the college exams and eligible to graduate.  That doesn't necessarily mean you are "certified", that is, having the legal ability to actually practice radiology.  To be certified usually means having passed certain tests.  Depending where you are, the requirements for certification will be different.

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QUESTION:
I want to be a radiologist and a lot of people say there's a 50% chance of getting cancer?  Is that true?

ANSWER from Bonnie Walters on 12 June 2007:
There are many safety precautions in place.  Everyone wears thyroid monitors (They're called dosimeters and are regulated through the state.  It's sent in monthly and read.) worn up near the neck and inside of aprons.  Radiologists have a much higher exposure in Cath labs, and anything around cat scans or special procedures because they are working so close to the X-ray source.  Techs work behind the doctors.  The radiation risk drops significantly from 5 - 6 feet away but every foot away makes a difference.

Everyone wears lead aprons, thyroid shields, docs wear special goggles to protect eyes from radiation (even regular eyeglasses help), and lead gloves for carrying isotopes.  Dosimeteres are also worn on rings because their hands are so close to the source.  They cannot be within 12 ft of people being injected with nuclear medicine. (Injectable radioactive isotopes for bone or heart scans.)  This is like gamma radiation - nasty stuff.

Much, much less for X-ray techs.  My friend has never had any outstanding readings at all.  If there are any outstanding reading (high) the person takes off work and goes onto bed rest until it's safe for them to go back to work.

[Bonnie Walters is a Respiratory Therapist and she got this information from a friend who works in radiology.  Bonnie was unable to find any information to substantiate a 50% cancer rate but it sounds unlikely.  Depending upon what country or the specific type of work, the risks could be higher or lower.  The amount of exposure is the key, reducing that exposure and monitoring it is important.]

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Last Updated:
11 July 2007

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