Radiography vs Radiology – What’s The Difference?

Radiography vs Radiology

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Radiography and radiology are both critical fields of medicine, and they share a lot in common, especially because they both make use of medical imaging to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injuries. However, despite all their many similarities, there are fundamental differences between both fields. It is these differences that this article highlights and expounds upon. Let’s go!

Radiography vs Radiology: Definition and Meaning 

Radiology is a field of medicine that uses radiologic imaging techniques to diagnose diseases and illnesses. Radiologists are trained to interpret scans and images to determine what could be wrong with an individual’s body. 

On the other hand, radiography is the field that deals with generating internal images of the human body to aid with diagnoses and treatments of illnesses and diseases. Radiographers do not interpret scans and images. Instead, they use various technical equipment, such as X-ray machines and MRI scanners, to create diagnostic images. 

To summarize, radiography generates images using technical equipment, while radiology deals with reading and interpreting these images. 

Radiography vs Radiology: Roles and Responsibilities 

Radiography vs Radiology

Another area of difference between radiology and radiography is in the overall responsibility and roles of a radiographer or radiologist.  

 On the one hand, a radiologist has the following key responsibilities:

  • Interpretation of scans and diagnosis 
  • Creation of imaging reports and engaging in team meetings to ensure that patients receive comprehensive treatment for their ailments. 
  • Participating in or organizing interventional procedures to treat medical conditions 

On the other hand, the radiographer is responsible for the following:

  • Creating patient scans using images like an MRI scanner or X-ray machine. 
  • Explaining the imaging process to patients to ensure that they are comfortable and in the best position during the scans 
  • Assisting a radiologist during a procedure. 

Radiography vs Radiology: Educational Path 

Another significant difference between radiography and radiology is your path to becoming a radiographer or a radiologist. 

Becoming a radiologist is generally more intensive than becoming a radiographer. A radiologist will complete an undergraduate degree in radiology or a related course before proceeding to medical school and finally completing a residency program in radiology. 

On the other hand, to become a radiographer, all you need to do is complete a two-year associate program in radiography from an accredited university or college. Once you complete the degree, you will be eligible to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists Certification Examination ( ARRT). This means you can start working as a radiographer in as little as two years. Here is a practice test to help you with the ARRT exam.

However, you should also note that a radiographer can opt for a bachelor’s degree in radiography, which means it will take about four years before they get into the field to practice. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Radiology and Radiography 

Are radiographers called doctors?

Radiographers are not called doctors, unlike radiologists. This is one of the fundamental reasons why the educational path of radiologists is more intense than radiographers. A radiographer is simply a specialist who uses special equipment to create diagnostic images. You may also refer to them as medical imaging technologists. 

Who makes more money, a radiographer or a radiologist?

A radiologist typically earns a lot more than a radiographer. According to Zip recruiter, the average annual salary of a radiographer ranges between $54,000 and $101 000. You should note, however, that based on location and specialized roles, some radiographers may earn as high as $131,000 per annum, and others may earn as low as $26,500. 

On the other hand, a radiologist earns between $200,000 and $350,000 per annum on average. However, just like with radiographers, some radiologists, based on several factors, may earn as high as $400,000 or as low as $40,000 per annum. This difference in salary implies that there is room for immense career progress based on skill, specialization, and location, amongst others. 

Which field is best in radiology? 

No field or specialization in radiology is inherently better than the other. However, you may be curious about the areas that pay the most. Then, here are some of the highest-paying radiology jobs:

  • Radiation Therapist 
  • Radiation Oncologist
  • Nuclear Medicine technologist 

Is radiology difficult to study? 

Studying radiology is not a walk in the park. You must be prepared to put in high levels of work, dedication, and effort. Furthermore, you can expect to undergo pressure both at the undergraduate level and in medical school. Therefore, I always advise that you are sure that the medical path is what you want to do before you even begin. However, once it is what you want to do and you put in the required work, you will be fine. 

Can a radiographer become a radiologist? 

Yes, just like anyone interested in becoming a radiologist, a radiographer can become one. What it will take a radiographer to become a radiologist depends on the level of education that such a person already has. However, ordinarily, a radiographer will go through the same path as everyone else, meaning undergraduate level, medical school, and residency. 

What disadvantages are similar to radiography and radiology? 

Should you decide to become a radiographer or radiologist, there are some downsides that you should be aware of. They include:

  • Demanding schedule: Both radiologists and radiographers typically work long hours and even on weekends. Many times, especially with hospitals, you may also be expected to work overnight. This may affect your ability to enjoy some things in your personal life, like prolonged and consistent time with your family. 
  • Physically tasking: Generally speaking, a job as a radiographer or radiologist will task your body because you may have to stand or walk for extended periods when attending to patients. Therefore, you must ensure you eat and exercise often to be in top physical shape.