Radiographers are solid multitaskers. There are some core differences between a radiologist and a radiographer, but they work together to provide the best patient care. So, what do radiographers do?
These are the job duties and requirements of radiographers: they maintain quality control of the x-ray images, assist radiologists in coming up with diagnoses and treatment plans, and ensure safety and comfort for patients undertaking the radiography procedures.
In this article, I will discuss the duties and responsibilities of radiographers and go over the skills required to become one.
The Job Duties and Requirements of a Radiographer
The healthcare industry is busy! In case you’re wondering about the duties of a radiographer, here I cover it for you:
They maintain quality control for radiographic imagery
In simple terms, you will be tasked with making sure the imagery produced from the radiological equipment meets proper quality standards.
That will be your main role, but the profession has evolved much in the previous decade.
Nowadays, radiographers are also required to have expertise in several medical sciences. Such as anatomy, pathology, and physics (yep! even physics) when caring for patients.
When I was searching through job boards, it was intriguing to find that the scope of each job listing seems to change based on the institution and the location.
Some might hire you for your expertise in evaluating images from the radiographic machine, while other organizations might need the complete package, as I discussed above.
Radiographers pass on the data to radiologists for interpretation
Once a quality image output is generated, radiographers usually pass on the data to radiologists. So a treatment plan or diagnosis can be made for the patient.
And the reason why these evaluations are not directly undertaken by radiographers: medical sciences can be complex and complicated. Hence, to get into actual diagnosis and interpretation, you need more education and training.
But with the current scope creep in the profession, duties handled by other professionals, such as cardiologists and oncologists, are slowly being assigned to radiographers.
And as a result, educational programs for radiographers have expanded their syllabuses to compensate.
You are required to pass a competitive ARRT radiography exam to earn your credentials.
Are you preparing for the ARRT radiography or looking to appear for it in the future? If you need help, you can use our free ARRT Practice Test to put your skills to the test.
Also, don’t forget to check our comprehensive guide on the subject, the ARRT Hero, which can help you achieve great results with minimal stress.
Patient care and maintaining safety standards are also part of the parcel
I have a question before we continue to this section: have you ever seen one of those large x-ray machines? The radiography experience can be intimidating for someone who has never been under an x-ray machine.
The machine has large arms and is fitted with a camera that can move around. And using these precise movements, doctors can make an appropriate diagnosis after checking their location of interest in real time.
Large arms with cameras moving around your body can be uncomfortable for some.
But they need not worry! A radiographer is always part of the radiography team. And their job is to monitor the x-ray machine. So it only gives off radiation which is under the approved safety standards.
And after the process is complete, the radiographer makes sure important information is taken note of in the form of x-ray imagery.
The requirements for a radiographer
Since it’s related to the main question of the article, I figured it would be cool if I showed you an actual job listing with their requirements outlined. It’s something I have curated from many job boards, and here it goes:
- Follow the institutional policies of the place you’re working with (basic).
- You are responsible for performing radiographic examinations.
- Troubleshoot equipment, and resupply accessories for the radiography room whenever needed.
- Work on the radiographic media. So the imagery output meets the technical qualifications required for analysis (core).
- Regular maintenance -cleanliness and orderliness- of the work areas.
- Move patients between the radiographic room and their main room when rendering services.
- Attend educational programs and workshops as required by the institution.
There you go, directly from the horse’s mouth. It’s all the things I have mentioned above and some additional responsibilities unique to the institutional demand.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When I was researching this article on search engines, I found these questions were very relevant to the main topic hence leaving it here as a bonus for you:
What are the skills required to become an excellent radiographer?
There are many skills required for a successful radiographer. Here is a list of what I believe to be the most important ones:
- A passion and drive in the healthcare industry.
- Being able to relate and communicate with patients about the radiography procedures. And calm them down in case they are uncomfortable.
- Skills to maintain an excellent rapport with other radiography professionals, with whom you will be interacting regularly.
- A scientific and analytical mind —- you will need to handle tons of details and work with advanced machinery.
- Always ready to learn new stuff. You saw the job requirements I posted above, which state “educational programs and workshops.” This requirement is what I mean. Your learning journey is for the long haul. As science evolves, you need to adapt to trends.
Is it a good career move?
Yes, I would say it’s an excellent career move. After graduating from an associate’s degree program and passing the ARRT exam, you can earn anywhere between $43,000 to $62,000 per year.
It’s a great deal of cash. When you consider the time and financial investment required during your college days.
Now, let’s make an admission that you can earn more if you choose to go for much more specialized disciplines like the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technologist. But it takes more time and education.
Radiographers make sure the images produced by x-ray machines meet the needs. Sometimes they are also responsible for assisting doctors and specialists in diagnosing patients.
Safety is a crucial part of healthcare, and radiographers make sure only the necessary dosage of radiation is used during procedures.
Are you interested in becoming a radiographer? Or may you have already completed the associate degree program and are looking to take the ARRT exam?