Medical imaging jobs can differ from one position to the next, including the areas of ultrasound, radiology, and nuclear medicine. In addition to these various fields, medical imaging careers can also have many specialties. Technologists, technicians, and assistants can be found in departments such as cardiology, gynecology, and other specific departments.
Radiology deals primarily with procedures related to x-rays; specialties can include computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Radiologist, radiographers, assistants, and technologists are a few of the common medical imaging jobs within this department. The radiologists, radiographers, and assistants often require a more advanced degree, while technologists and technicians may only have an associate’s degree or training from an approved vocational program. Duration and type of training programs vary by region and employer. Common areas of employment are hospitals and physician offices.
Ultrasound is another department that relies on medical imaging — the ultrasound technician uses frequency wave imaging to help diagnose disease or disorder within a patient. The ultrasound tech is most commonly employed by hospitals and clinics, where technicians may be referred to as technologists or assistants, depending on the facility. Common specialties within ultrasound include obstetrics, gynecology, and mammography. Employment opportunities may be available in hospitals, physician’s offices and many times in specialty offices. Minimum educational requirements may consist of vocational programs, diploma programs, and various degree programs.
Nuclear medicine is another of the medical imaging jobs and is quite similar to x-ray technology. The significant difference in these two areas is the use of radioactive drugs known as radiopharmaceuticals. These compounds are introduced into the body prior to imaging tests for contrast and to detect illness. The nuclear medical technologist or technician is primarily responsible for administration of radiopharmaceuticals to the patient and sometimes performing the actual tests. Educational requirements can slightly vary for these types of positions; people with tech training in ultrasound or radiology can often be certified to work in nuclear medicine.
In addition to duties related to testing, a medical imaging employee may be responsible for various other tasks. Clerical duties, such as maintenance of files and communicating with other healthcare professionals, are also another important part of medical imaging jobs. Aspects of career descriptions, such as education, training, employment opportunities, and titles, may be regional and facility-specific.