Job Family: Medical and Clinical Technologists and Technicians Medical Imaging Technicians
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Coast Guard  | National Guard

Supplemental Information
Profile  |  Career Path
Photo 1: Technician discusses procedure with patient. Photo 2:
Technician examines X-rays.

Ernie Hughes
Occupation: Radiologic (X-Ray) Technician

When I joined the Navy, I was guaranteed training in the medical field. After boot camp, I went to school to become a hospital corpsman. At the Gre…

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Short Description
Medical imaging is important in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. X-rays and other diagnostic techniques, such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), help physicians detect injuries and illnesses. Radiology is also used to treat some diseases, such as cancer. Medical Imaging technicians operate X-ray and other imaging related equipment used in diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases. They work as part of a medical team of physicians and specialists to provide health care to patients. Medical imaging technicians may specialize by the type of equipment they operate.

What They Do
Medical imaging technicians in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Read requests or instructions from physicians to determine each patient’s X-ray or imaging needs
  • Position patients under radiologic equipment
  • Operate fixed and portable radiology equipment
  • Adjust equipment to the correct time and power of exposure
  • Develop radiographic image using digital and manual processing
  • Prepare and administer radioactive solutions to patients
  • Keep records of patient treatment
  • Apply radiation, electrical and mechanical protective measures
  • Inspect and perform operator maintenance on radiology equipment

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include algebra, biology, and other science courses. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to follow strict standards and procedures
  • Interest in activities requiring accuracy and attention to detail
  • Interest in helping others
  • Interest in working in a medical environment

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction, including practice with medical imaging equipment. Extensive on-the-job training is also provided. Additional training occurs through advanced courses. Training length varies depending on specialty. Course content typically includes:
  • Operation of diagnostic imaging equipment
  • Radioactive isotope therapy
  • Image processing
  • Anatomy and physiology

Work Environment
Medical imaging technicians work in hospitals and clinics. In combat situations, they may work in mobile field hospitals. They follow strict safety procedures to minimize exposure to radiation.

Civilian Counterparts
Civilian medical imaging technicians work in hospitals, diagnostic clinics, and medical laboratories. They perform duties similar to military medical imaging technicians. They may specialize in various areas of radiology and may be called X-ray technologists, radiographers, sonographers, radiation therapy technologists, or nuclear medicine technologists.

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