How to Become a Medical Radiation Technologist

Medical Radiation Technologist

A medical radiation technologist helps radiologists take x-ray images of patients. They will ensure that photographs are clear enough for accurate diagnosis and maintain the equipment to ensure it functions well.

Medical radiation technologists take x-ray images of patients. Along with radiologists, they ensure the comfort of their patients and guide them through the image-taking process. Once the photo is taken, they assess its quality and ensure that it can be analysed effectively. 0nh

The duties of being a medical radiation technologist include: 

  • Taking photos of patients in clinics using an x-ray machine or similar equipment. 
  • Processing x-ray films.
  • Positioning shields to protect patients. 
  • Ensuring that the photographs are clear enough for full diagnoses.
  • Communicating with patients throughout the procedure, including giving them information about it and debriefing them after. 
  • Performing tests on equipment to ensure that it is functioning correctly. 

Candidates for this position will need a degree in medical imaging, applied science, or health science. They should also have some formal education in radiography. The actual qualification varies from country to country; it could be a postgraduate degree or a qualification from the radiography board. 

When entering the profession, candidates should have a solid understanding of patient care, radiation physics, medical ethics, image evaluation, and anatomy, among other topics. They must be licensed in their country before starting work. 

When applying to positions, it is beneficial to have a background of work experience. Anything in the health industry, including hospital or laboratory work, would be helpful. Furthermore, previous photographic experience is an asset, as is having experience dealing with the general public. 

As well as specific knowledge, candidates should have relevant soft skills. They should work with accuracy and precision, as they will be responsible for ensuring that the photographs take correctly and the patient is protected from radiation. They should also be friendly and welcoming to patients, who may be going through distressing circumstances. 

An excellent eye for detail is mandatory, as they will be responsible for assessing the photos’ quality. They should be able to both work on their own and follow the radiographer’s instructions.

A medical radiation technologist should be physically strong, as they may need to move patients to scan them accurately. They should also exhibit excellent hand-eye coordination. 

Medical radiation technologists may work in hospitals, laboratories, or diagnostic image centres. They will generally do shift work, including evenings and weekends, and may need to work on call. 

There is a growing demand for this role, as the ageing population in many countries calls for more need for scans. Furthermore, the number of people training to become a medical radiation technologist remains low. The salary of a medical radiation technologist increases substantially with experience. 

What degree is most commonly held by a Medical Radiation Technologist ?

  • bachelor of Medical Laboratory Scientist
  • Bachelor of Science B.S
  • Bachelor of Clinical Laboratory Science
  • Masters of Medical Laboratory Science

Career Transportability across Countries

Transportability: High
There is scope for becoming a medical radiation technologist abroad, particularly in countries with an ageing population. Many places report a lack of trained professionals in this role, so invite skilled candidates over to work. They may have to re-train and re-license to meet the conditions of the country, but the employer will generally arrange this.

What is the Salary of a Medical Radiation Technologist ?

Experience Average salary | year
Medical Radiation Therapist 1-3 yrs $80,590 £40,000 $78,000
Medical Radiation Therapist 3-5 yrs $91,000 £50,000 $90,000
Medical Radiation Therapist 5-10 yrs $100,000 £80,000 $110,000

What skills are needed to become a Medical Radiation Technologist ?

  • Laboratory Medicine
  • Microsoft Office
  • Healthcare
  • Hematology
  • Laboratory Skills
  • Research
  • Customer Service
  • Microbiology
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Leadership
  • Hospitals
  • Clinical Research
  • Blood Bank
  • Laboratory
  • Data Analysis
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Teamwork
  • Biochemistry
  • Time Management
  • Phlebotomy
  • Coagulation
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Public Speaking

Medical Radiation Technologist Courses

As there are many aspects that go into working as a medical radiation technologist, candidates will benefit from taking some relevant courses. These are accessible online - at FutureLearn, we have some excellent healthcare courses to help candidates start their career, such as this AI for healthcare course.

  • AI for Healthcare: Equipping the Workforce for Digital Transformation

    Learn how artificial intelligence is transforming healthcare and how it can be used to support change in the healthcare workforce

  • An Introduction to Radiation Oncology: From Diagnosis to Survivorship

    Learn about how radiation therapy is used to treat cancer including current treatments and exciting innovations on the horizon

  • Dental Radiography: Radiation Protection in Dental Practice

    Learn the UK safety requirements and legislation for carrying out safe dental X-rays on this CPD course for dental professionals

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