Lifespan School of Medical Imaging

About Radiography

A radiographer is a highly skilled assistant to the radiologist (a physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases by the application of x-rays, radioactive materials and other forms of radiant energy). The radiographer performs imaging examinations of any part of the body. In order to take quality radiographs, the radiographer must have a good working knowledge of human anatomy, radiation physics, radiographic positioning, equipment operation and image processing. As a member of the health care team, the radiographer must understand and be concerned with quality patient care and medical ethics, and be dedicated to the prevention of disease and preservation of life.

The Radiographer

The radiographer is able to:
  • Apply the principles of radiation protection to the patient, self and others
  • Apply knowledge of anatomy and physiology, positioning and radiographic technique to accurately demonstrate anatomical structures on a radiograph or other imaging receptor
  • Determine exposure factors to achieve optimum radiographic techniques with minimum radiation exposure to the patient
  • Evaluate images for appropriate positioning and image quality
  • Provide patient care and comfort
  • Evaluate the performance of imaging systems, know the safe limits of the equipment operations and report malfunctions to the proper authority
  • Exercise independent judgment and discretion in technical performance of medical imaging procedures
  • Have daily contact with highly trained and specialized colleagues
  • Have the personal satisfaction from helping alleviate human suffering, developing new technology and participating as an instructor.
A typical workday may find the radiographer:
  • Imaging a stomach under fluoroscopy to visualize an ulcer
  • In the trauma center, imaging the chest of a gunshot victim or a broken arm of a pediatric patient
  • In the operating room, checking the placement of a pin for hip repair
  • Imaging a patient in their hospital room because they are unable to travel to the x-ray department

To acquire specific expertise, the radiographer must have a firm foundation in the physical and biologic sciences as well as in the professional and technical disciplines related to radiologic sciences and technology. The patient and medical profession rely on the mature judgment, knowledge and skill of the radiographer to operate the complex imaging equipment safely and efficiently.

Career Opportunities

The majority of qualified radiographers are employed in hospitals, medical centers and physician’s offices. Most radiological supply, equipment and accessory manufacturers employ radiologic technologists as technical advisors, technical sales representatives, or industrial technologists in the medical radiological service divisions. The radiographer may be able to further advance with compensatory salary through continuing education and experience.

Areas of specialization include:

  • Education
  • Health services management
  • Bone densitometry
  • Vascular/interventional radiography
  • Computed tomography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mammography
  • Nuclear medicine technology
  • Quality
  • Research
  • Medical medical sonography
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radiologist assistant
  • Technical specialists

Additional Imaging Programs

For those radiologic technologists wishing to further their education, the Lifespan School of Medical Imaging also has programs in mammography, nuclear medicine technology, diagnostic medical sonography, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography.