Is there a difference between a radiologic technician and a radiologic assistant? They may sound like the same job, and in many ways, they are similar. However, these are actually two different career paths. There are many different imaging technologies within the radiology field and many different job duties associated with them. It used to be that radiologic technicians and radiologic technologists were the only allied health jobs in the field of radiology, but the radiologic assistant has emerged in recent years as a necessary career within this field.
The radiologic technician is the most basic position in this field, which is an occupation that requires one to two years of schooling at a vocational school, technical institute or community college. As a technician, you can position patients, operate machinery and complete processes that result in the creation of digital images, such as CT scans, mammograms and X-Rays, which are used to diagnose and treat diseases.
The radiologic technologist is the next step up from the radiologic technician. Many employers only hire technologists, so this job career path may be a better choice if you are thinking of going into the field of radiology. As a radiologic technologist, you can do all the things that a technician can, but you are able to complete more complex tasks due to the higher education required for this job. Radiologic technologists have a bachelor’s degrees and can enter into supervisory or management positions—this is something that radiologic technicians can’t do.
The radiologic assistant is a fairly new job title in the medical world, which was only recently recognized by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. A radiologic assistant has completed all the requirements to become a radiologic technologist, and exceeded those requirements with additional advanced study and direct work under the supervision of a radiologist. You can perform more complex tests and make preliminary judgments in patient cases, although the final say always belongs to the physician.
More Advanced Radiology Job Options
Radiology nurses and radiologists are the more advanced positions in the radiology field. In order to become a radiology nurse, you will need to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, pass the registration exams and complete specialized training with radiologic procedures. If you want to become a medical doctor, then you may consider going all the way and becoming a licensed radiologist. This requires completion of a M.D. and specialized radiological training.