How to become a Medical Imaging Technologist

Medical imaging technologists operate X-ray and other imaging equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound, to produce radiographic images that are used in the diagnosis and subsequent management of disease or injury.

Personal requirements of a Medical Imaging Technologist

  • Aptitude for science
  • Able to work accurately
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Eye for detail
  • Enjoy helping people

Education & Training for a Medical Imaging Technologist

To become a medical imaging technologist you usually have to complete a degree in medical radiation science or medical imaging at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. You may be required to attend an interview. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Medical Imaging Technologist

Medical imaging technologists may perform the following tasks:

  • receive and interpret requests from medical practitioners for X-ray examinations to be performed on patients
  • determine the appropriate imaging techniques to provide doctors with diagnostic information
  • calculate details of procedures (such as length and intensity of exposure to radiation) and settings of recording equipment
  • explain procedures to patients and address any concerns they have about radiation processes
  • ensure patients undergo the correct preparation for the procedure
  • correctly position the patient and imaging equipment to obtain the best image of the area being examined
  • ensure the patient’s welfare during the examination, particularly their exposure to radiation
  • develop the X-ray films
  • inspect images to determine if any further views are necessary
  • operate special equipment such as fluoroscopy equipment (which gives a moving image of the part being examined), angiography equipment (which gives images of blood vessels) and computed tomography (CT) equipment (which gives cross-sectional images of the body).

Working conditions for a Medical Imaging Technologist

Medical imaging technologists who are employed in hospitals may work in the radiology department, use mobile X-ray units at patients' bedsides or work in an operating theatre. They work as part of a team with other healthcare professionals, medical staff and nursing staff. Hours of work may involve weekend or shiftwork. Participation in an on-call roster for after-hours emergencies may also be required.

Employment Opportunities for a Medical Imaging Technologist

Medical imaging technologists are employed in public and private hospitals, as well as private radiology practices in metropolitan and rural locations. Demand for medical imaging technologists has grown over the past few years. This has mainly been due to new and expanding techniques such as MRI and ultrasound, which aid in the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions.

Specialisations:


MRI Radiographer

A MRI radiographer operates MRI scanners and ensures patient safety during the procedure to produce detailed images.


Sonographer

A sonographer operates ultrasound machines and related equipment to produce images for medical diagnostic purposes.

Additional Information
Depending on the length of the university course, some graduates are required to complete a year of clinical practice in an accredited radiology department. Those completing a four-year degree with the necessary clinical component are not required to undertake this additional year. Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisations, and undergo a Working with Children Children. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. It is a legal requirement for graduates to be registered with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia before practising as a medical imaging technologist in any state or territory of Australia. For full details, see the board’s website. You must also obtain a licence to operate radiation equipment from the regulatory body in your state or territory.
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