occupationsMedical Radiation Technologists   (NOC: 3215)

This unit group includes technologists who operate radiographic and radiation therapy equipment to administer radiation treatment and produce images of body structures for the diagnosis and treatment of injury and disease. They are employed in hospitals, cancer treatment centres, clinics and radiological laboratories. Medical radiation technologists who are supervisors or instructors are included in this unit group.

Alternate titles for this trade may include: clinical instructor, radiation therapy mammography technician nuclear medicine clinical instructor nuclear medicine technologist radiation oncology technologist radiation therapist radiation therapy technologist (RTT) radiography technologist radiological technologist radiot, nuclear medicine technologists X-ray (radiology) technician

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The following are some of the employment requirements for this trade:

  • Completion of a two- to three-year college, hospital or other approved program in diagnostic radiography (for radiological technologists), nuclear medicine technology (for nuclear medicine technologists) or radiation therapy (for radiation therapists) orA

Pattern of Interests   |   Skill Requirements

Pattern of Interests

The code determined by the results of your answers to the Interest Inventory questionnaire. Each possibility has a 3 letter variation that assesses the degree and range of your interests along Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social criteria variables.


Innovative interest in compiling patient data to assist in the diagnosis of diseases and injuries; and in performing minor emergency repairs on radiographic equipment


Methodical interest in speaking with radiologists to determine procedures to be performed; and in recording and processing patient data, and in performing scheduled maintenance on equipment


Objective interest in precision working with X-ray, radiographic and fluoroscopic equipment, specialized C.T. scanners and mammography units

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Skill Requirements

Below are Essential Skill categories and how they correspond to this occupation. This section will help you identify occupations where you have a good chance of succeeding. It can also help you see which Skills you may need to improve. Click on the Summary Analysis link above to view a complete analysis of how your Skills measure up to this occupation. This feature is only available for those Users that are logged in and have completed the self assessment component.

The most important Essential Skills for this trade are:

  • Oral Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Working with Others


Reading Text

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-4
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Scan instructions in brief notes attached to patients' files. these notes are written by referring physicians and contain information about imaging procedures. (1)
  • Read short e-mail about department scheduling, employee training and updates to internal procedures from co-workers, supervisors or hospital administrators. (2)
  • Read letters about in-service meetings, protocol updates and hospital policy changes. the length and complexity of these letters vary depending on the purpose, but they are generally no more than a few paragraphs. (2)
  • Read user manuals for various types of radiological equipment when troubleshooting faults with scanners or imaging computers. technologists read general descriptions of the faults and then read one or two paragraphs of additional information about how to fix it. (2)
  • Read reports of varying lengths completed by physicians, hospital or clinic administrators and supervising technologists. for example, technologists may read budget reports completed by administration that outline total expenditures. they must read these reports carefully because they provide a basis to adapt their departments' or units' expenditures. (3)
  • Review protocols for scanning and identifying non-routine or atypical pathologies in procedure manuals. they read the manuals to learn the procedures for proper patient positioning or for determining whether injection dosages are required. (3)
  • Read journal articles about developments in radiology, image capture and scanning trends and specialty areas of study for continuous learning projects. technologists use their medical background and experience to read articles in journals such as the canadian journal of medical radiation technology. they apply new information to their work as patient examination protocols within the profession change often. (4)
  • Read and follow all specified procedures in the multi-page treatment prescriptions prepared by referring physicians. treatment prescriptions include dosage instructions, information on examinations that have been completed, scheduled or required, and contingencies for each specific treatment. technologists must carefully read all sections, plans and instructions and refer to them throughout the course of treatment as physicians may make changes to the protocols. (4)


Document Use

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-4
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Read lists of appropriate fields, exposures and equipment settings for x-ray exposures. (1)
  • Find total hours worked over a bi-weekly or monthly period taking data from work schedules, completed time sheets and overtime records. (1)
  • Scan labels on containers of radioactive materials, ingestible contrast media and medications for dosages, concentrations and other usage data. for example, technologists check labels on containers of barium and injectable dyes in order to quickly determine the correct media to introduce during dynamic scanning procedures. (1)
  • Scan lists and tables for information about upcoming training programs. (2)
  • Complete patients' medical history forms by entering the patients' names, treatments received to date and current medical conditions. they may also enter data such as the type of scans ordered, the times and sites of injected contrast media and the views recorded during the scan procedures into tables included in the forms. (3)
  • Take information from requisition forms filled out by referring physicians. these one-page forms contain the patients' names and addresses, the type of exams requested, the essential history of the patients, notes left by referring physicians and any other information such as contraindicative conditions that will help technologists complete the requested examination. (3)
  • Refer to detailed positioning manuals which contain tables, charts and drawings summarizing all possible exams and the total number of positions required for each exam. technologists consult these manuals to review protocols for scanning and identifying non-routine or atypical pathologies. information from several sections of the manual must be synthesized and cross-referenced. (3)
  • Scan developed film images and digital scan images for specific information. they look for image coordinates, patients' names and birth dates, the body parts captured by the images, image identification numbers and type of contrast media used. (3)
  • Use graphs and tables created by software programs associated with imaging equipment to plan dosimetry models for patients. technologists must obtain specific numerical values from dosimetry distribution graphs to determine the exact dosage of radiation to specific areas of the body prior to administration of the dose. errors in plotting dosimetry can have fatal consequences. (3)
  • Obtain information from graphs depicting the movement and concentration of contrast media in the body over specific time intervals. for example, technologists use graphs to track the passing of injectable dye through body organs, tissues and systems. (4)
  • Write short lists of tasks to remind themselves of the daily examination schedule and to prioritize duties they must complete during the day.
  • Make sketches of patients' positioning and include them in patient treatment records. technologists draw sketches showing scanning and positioning angles and patient placement relative to the scanner.
  • Create lists and tables. for example, technologists may create a table to display common imaging and scanning protocols. in the table, each row is a scanning procedure and each column outlines the proper protocols for the procedure. this format is easy to read and very convenient for other staff members and co-workers to access when they require further information about a scan they must perform.
  • Create graphs or charts to illustrate concepts when directing co-workers or students during scanning procedures. for example, technologists may draw graphs to illustrate the movement of contrast media through body structures over a period of timed intervals.



Desired Skill Level Range: 2-4
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Write short e-mail to co-workers and clerical staff to compile information about particular patients, describe unusual pathologies or ask for on-site reference material. (2)
  • Write brief observations about pathologies that may affect diagnoses on patients' charts. (2)
  • Write descriptions of accidents and incidents on reporting forms when something unusual occurs during patient exams or scanning procedures. for example, patients may complain of discomfort caused by an adverse reaction to particular contrast media. they write detailed descriptions of the incidents and the measures taken to remedy the situations. because these documents could be used in a court of law, details must be clear, concise and accurate. (3)
  • Write memos to advise, inform or direct staff working in other hospital or clinic departments or units. for example, if staff training costs in their departments or units go over budget, technologists in supervisory roles may outline in writing their reasons for the expenditures and request shifts in other budget lines to cover the shortfalls. (3)
  • Write detailed notes about radiation treatments given and the condition of patients at the end of each appointment. they record details about the development of side effects and patients' general physical and emotional states. they outline treatment results, patients' concerns about treatments and side effects. the treatment notes help referring physicians and oncologists to track emergent problems and conditions. (3)
  • May write longer annual or bi-annual reports for their units or diagnostic imaging departments. for example, the reports may include information such as staff performance, equipment operation and maintenance, and the unit's patient loads. these reports clearly outline and describe the needs and demands placed on their unit or department for the year, provide recommendations to managers, administrators and supervisors and may influence future budget allocations and human resource planning. (4)
  • May write academic and research papers for presentation to workplace administrators, boards of directors and gatherings of colleagues at conferences or seminars. these papers are often written in language intended to help the audience understand the different imaging modalities in their departments or discuss current research trends in their areas of specialty. they may also write speaking notes for presentations intended to persuade audiences to support requests for major capital purchases. (4)



Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Complete invoices for service using radiologist fee schedules. technologists enter the total number of scans, multiply by the total number of scanning sequences, apply physicians' rates of pay, calculate taxes and add up the amount to put on the invoice. (money math), (3)
  • May track their units' or departments' educational budgets to ensure allocations are sufficient for activities such as staff training and conferences. (scheduling, budgeting & accounting math), (1)
  • Schedule patient appointments and work hours for clerical staff. (scheduling, budgeting & accounting math), (2)
  • Measure durations of radiography exposures or scans in seconds using a watch with a second hand or the digital clock readout built into the examination table. (measurement and calculation math), (1)
  • Measure liquid contrast media for scanning procedures using a marked syringe or measuring cup. (measurement and calculation math), (1)
  • Measure daily temperatures and air pressures to make necessary adjustments to radiation equipment. (measurement and calculation math), (1)
  • Recognize common angles displayed in digital readouts on examination tables or imaging equipment, then manipulate the angle of the examination tables or imaging equipment to properly orient patients and capture required images. (measurement and calculation math), (2)
  • Measure the size of patients' body parts being examined. for example, technologists may measure patients' breasts for mammography procedures to allow technologists to select operating parameters on imaging machines and set fields to choose the size of plate and desired position for the exams. (measurement and calculation math), (2)
  • Measure the distance of patients' bodies from radiography tubes or scanners. they use measuring tapes and lasers to ensure they are within pre-determined acceptable distances found in equipment manufacturers' manuals. (measurement and calculation math), (2)
  • Conduct quality assurance tests of radiation treatment machines by comparing diagnostic test readings to allowable specifications defined by equipment manufacturers and then to readings gathered from past scans under parameters which were deemed normal. for example, technologists may compute the air density correction factor (adcf) for radiation treatment machines by inserting values of pressure (p) in mm hg and temperature (t) in degrees kelvin: adcf = (760 / p) (t / 295.15). (measurement and calculation math), (3)
  • Compare radiographic images captured by the same scanner at various numerical settings and calculate average exposure variables for assorted scanning procedures. (data analysis math), (2)
  • May perform quality assurance tests on scanning and other diagnostic equipment. they record the results of these tests in spreadsheets and monitor any trends to ensure maintenance and servicing occurs promptly. (data analysis math), (2)
  • Estimate the approximate angle at which the patient is positioned relative to the scanning equipment. although this is usually an automated procedure completed by the scanning machine, there are certain positions where angles may be estimated. (numerical estimation), (1)
  • Estimate the thickness of patients' body parts so they can adjust exposure settings accordingly. (numerical estimation), (2)
  • May estimate total expenditures in their units' or departments' annual budgets using data obtained from past budgets. (numerical estimation), (2)


Oral Communication

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-4
  Note: This is an important skill
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Speak with reception and clerical staff to determine and confirm the number of appointments for the day, request patient information from files and loggings of appointments for patients requiring additional testing or treatment. (1)
  • Discuss scheduling, treatment room assignments and workload responsibilities with employees and co-workers. for example, a technologist may discuss various tasks to be completed during the day and divide tasks between co-workers, offering in-depth instructions when required. (2)
  • Speak to patients to explain protocols for procedures or examinations, obtain information about the patient's status and discuss current diagnoses and treatment options. (2)
  • Order supplies such as contrast media and radioactive pharmaceuticals from suppliers and hospital dispensaries. technologists may also contact suppliers for assistance when troubleshooting mechanical or software problems. (2)
  • Discuss procedural suggestions, equipment malfunctions and personnel problems with the senior technologists, unit or department supervisors or administrative staff. technologists may report concerns and make recommendations at regularly scheduled staff or team meetings. (3)
  • Comfort patients who may be frightened or upset during scanning procedures. they use specific terminology and plain language to explain the procedures, and use a gentle tone of voice to put patients at ease. (3)
  • Discuss patients' status with nurses, social workers, dietitians or other members of the extended health care team. for example, technologists may refer oncology patients who are experiencing digestive problems to other physicians or dietetics staff. (3)
  • Make presentations to co-workers to educate them about radiological protocols for admitting and caring for patients. for example, technologists may lead information sessions for their hospitals' code teams and ambulance attendants at which they address the proper procedures for obtaining and scheduling radiological examinations. (4)
  • May present research findings to colleagues at conferences or training events. the information they present is technical and must be delivered concisely and comprehensively using language appropriate to an audience of subject matter specialists. (4)


Problem Solving

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • May discover that they have neglected to indicate important scanning parameters on x-rays or scanned images, such as appropriate spatial or directional indicators. they add the indicators directly onto the film or printed image with a marker. (1)
  • Disagree with the types of visual imaging ordered for patients by physicians. for example, physicians may order bone scans for patients suffering from osteoporosis, when technologists believe that bone density scans are more appropriate. the technologists contact the physicians to discuss protocols and present their reasons for recommending alternate scans. (2)
  • Notice that the status of patients undergoing scanning procedures is deteriorating. the technologists stop the procedures, notify attending physicians and return the patients to their wards. if the patients require urgent attention, the technologists alert code teams. (2)
  • Observe that patients arriving for exams have not taken the necessary pre-appointment measures such as fasting or refraining from taking interfering medications. the technologists re-schedule the appointments for other times. (2)
  • Discover that patients are late for their appointments, and schedules must be changed to accommodate needs. technologists must adapt patient schedules in a manner that causes the least amount of disruption, while maintaining the continuity of treatment that is essential for treatment effectiveness, and ensuring that all patients receive treatment. (2)
  • Encounter mechanical malfunctions with scanning equipment. if it is an obvious fault the technologists will try to fix it themselves by following standard diagnostic or troubleshooting procedures. they may report more serious or elusive faults to senior technologists or supervisors. technologists working alone try to isolate faults by reviewing the equipment's operation manual or calling appropriate service technicians. (3)
  • Notice errors during radiation treatments. for example, they notice that the wrong patient has been treated or the wrong dose has been given. they follow protocols; document the incidents and discuss the errors with referring physicians. (3)
  • Cannot access digital records and files of patients' previous scan histories from other hospitals or clinics. for example, technologists may use a picture archiving and communications system (pacs) to retrieve archived images and diagnoses of other outside specialists; this may cause appointments for patients awaiting procedures to be cancelled. technologists attempt to contact the physician on the record in the patient's file or cancel the appointment. (3)


Decision Making

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-4
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Choose the correct film size for the sizes of the areas to be scanned. if the wrong size cassette is chosen, the image will be unreadable. (1)
  • Notice that physicians have requested types of radiographs or scans for patients who cannot be positioned in a typical way. the technologists attempt to use different positions or different scanning protocols that will achieve quality images. (2)
  • Decide which patients will be processed first when they receive multiple requisitions at the same time, or during emergencies. for example, technologists may receive emergency calls that require multiple radiographs or scans for several accident victims. technologists check the daily patient list to hold all procedures of non-emergent nature, and then determine which of the accident victims will receive priority based on the seriousness of their condition. miscalculations of initial visual diagnoses of any one patient's condition may have serious consequences. technologists set the order of appointments or treatments according to the perceived urgency of the requests, the levels of patients' distress and their ages. (3)
  • Decide if examinations can be completed under contraindicative or complicating circumstances. for example, technologists may accidentally inject radioactive material interstitially instead of intravenously. they must decide whether the scan is still performable under the conditions or if the scan should be cancelled and rebooked. (3)
  • Decide whether to treat patients or refer them to attending physicians. for example, a technologist may observe that the size of a patient's tumour has increased significantly during the interval between diagnosis and treatment. the technologist must then decide whether to pursue the original treatment plan or stop treatment altogether until the patient's physician can be consulted. the technologist considers the growth of the tumour, the overall health of the patient and the availability of the physician. (4)


Job Task Planning

Desired Skill Level Range: 3
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Medical radiation technologists' daily work priorities are determined by the demands of the clinic, laboratory or hospital. technologists generally determine the order and priority of their own work tasks subject to confirmation or approval from their supervisors. because of variations in demand and medical emergencies, they are forced to change daily job tasks schedules frequently. they often integrate their plans with those of their health care teams.
  • Medical radiation technologists working as supervisors may plan the work of other technologists and other administrative workers. they may participate in regularly-scheduled organizational and strategic planning activities. they give advice about human resource planning for their units and help to develop organizational goals and objectives.


Finding Information

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Talk with nursing staff or referring physicians to get more detailed information concerning patients' status. they ask for information about things such as mobility level, mental status and level of sedation which are not necessarily reported on requisition forms. the extra information is often important for guiding procedures and examinations. (1)
  • Find procedures for placing patients, who need unusual or atypical scans, in positioning or procedure manuals. (1)
  • Locate information about new treatments, research and pharmaceuticals on web sites. (2)
  • Access patients' previous scan histories and scanned images from outside hospitals or clinics using the picture archiving and communications system. technologists may be required to find information such as archived images and notes of diagnoses from outside specialists referred to in patient files. (3)
  • May identify patient-threatening situations by reviewing past incident reports that outline missed diagnoses and excess doses of radiation. technologists may also access records of past investigations and read excerpts of staff interviews and department records to research the facts of past incidents. (3)


Computer Use

Desired Skill Level Range: 2-3
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Use word processing. for example, they use word processing programs to compose interdepartmental letters or memos. (2)
  • Use graphic programs. for example, technologists create slide presentations using software such as powerpoint. because of the nature of their work, they insert graphs, charts and medical images into the presentations. (2)
  • Use databases. for example, they use hospital or radiology information systems to access catalogued patient scans and images. technologists request information by querying patients' names, specific pathologies, referring physicians and procedure dates. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. for example, they use excel to create tables for recording scanning data, maintaining inventory lists and displaying procedures. (2)
  • Use communications software. for example, they use e-mail systems to send and receive messages and file attachments to co-workers, supervisors, physicians, colleagues and maintenance staff. (2)
  • Use the internet. for example, they search the internet for new and developing trends in their areas of specialty and for continuing education courses. technologists enter industry-specific terminology into keyword search boxes and re-visit sites they have previously accessed or bookmarked. (2)
  • Use other computer and software applications. for example, they use scheduling programs to track appointment times. they also use various types of brand-specific scanning and imaging software. the software is used to operate the equipment and perform different types of scans or produce different types of images. technologists must be able to manipulate the features and menus of the application and use their advanced knowledge of the application to produce images that clearly indicate existing pathologies. (3)
  • Use other computer and software applications. for example, they may use specialized clinical software with complex mathematical models to generate several radiation treatment options for physicians to evaluate and consider. these models allow technologists to determine optimum doses, and the proper sizes, energies, and shapes of radiation treatment beams to model radiation treatments. (3)


Critical Thinking

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-4
  Note: This is an important skill
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Determine if upcoming training events are suitable for training needs for themselves or junior staff by comparing program information with learning goals and assessed skill levels. (1)
  • Make preliminary judgements about the seriousness of patients' injuries. for example, a technologist working after hours may determine from radiographic images that a patient has a definitive wrist fracture. if the injury is clear, the technologist describes the injury and refers the patient to the emergency room for casting. (2)
  • May evaluate dosimetry models in consultation with oncologists and radiation physicists. for example, they review figures for radiation treatment calculations completed by oncologists to create multiple models that determine precise radiation beam distributions for specific treatments. they evaluate the sizes, intensities, and required depths of beams and times of exposure of radiation dosages to tumours in each model with oncologists and radiation physicists to establish ideal radiation dosages while minimizing potential effects on surrounding healthy tissues. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality of radiographs, digital images and scans. technologists judge the quality of images using criteria such as the visibility of patients' id stamps, the presence of orientation and spatial indicators, the correct positioning of patients, the inclusion of all relevant anatomy and the clarity of the exposure. this immediate and expert evaluation determines if re-takes are required and ensures that all images are diagnostically useful. (3)
  • Evaluate the performance of radiology students or junior staff. they provide assessments of students' clinical competencies to unit or department supervisors, senior technologists or clinical instructors. technologists monitor procedures and examinations completed by students or co-workers. they assess the students' work using criteria such as completeness, efficiency, scanning technique and adherence to protocols. (3)
  • May monitor and evaluate patients' status before and after radiation therapy treatments, integrating information from their files, physicians' reports and their own observations to judge possible next treatment steps. they must be able to anticipate developing health problems by analyzing the data from these sources, as errors in judgement can have serious consequences for patients' recovery and well being. (4)


Use of Memory

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A
  Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Remember common variables and settings for scanning equipment.
  • Remember frequently-used procedures and common distances for positioning patients for certain types of views when completing scanning procedures.
  • Remember new administrative policies and disciplinary procedures.


Working with Others

Desired Skill Level Range: 3
  Note: This is an important skill

Medical radiation technologists often work independently within multidisciplinary health care teams which include physicians, nurses, patient families, other medical radiation technologists and clinical oncology staff. they coordinate diagnostic scanning tasks with the tasks of the employees in diagnostic imaging or radiology departments of hospitals, clinics or radiological laboratories. there are often no specific guidelines for working in teams so medical radiation technologists must often create lines of communication with other team members to ensure efficiency. medical radiation technologists meet regularly with clerical staff, other technologists, physicians, specialists and staff from other facilities to discuss the management of patient loads. in certain job contexts, medical radiation technologists may supervise their own staffs working within specialties such as general x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine, computed tomography scanning or radiation therapy.



Continuous Learning

Desired Skill Level Range: 3

Medical radiation technologists determine their own continuous learning goals and choose their own leaning opportunities. much of their learning is done on their own time and during work time through reading textbooks, clinical journals, periodicals and other printed materials. they learn on the job from co-workers, supervisors and professional colleagues. they take training in the workplace, attend conferences and research emerging trends on the internet. there are many continuous learning courses offered by national and provincial professional associations and employers such as hospitals and clinics. additionally, equipment suppliers may offer additional training in advanced use of their equipment as well as refresher courses. technologists looking to obtain specialization certificates or advanced certifications may complete courses sanctioned by the camrt.

Medical radiation technologists are usually not mandated to participate in formal continuous learning by their employer or professional associations. however, professional associations and employers are currently working to implement continuing education requirements. continuous learning is strongly supported by these organizations and by employers, and many technologists receive funding from their professional association or employer to obtain additional learning. technologists working in provinces governed by a professional college must demonstrate regular participation in continuous learning opportunities.



Other Information

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A

Medical radiation technologists spend most of the day standing during various radiological procedures. they frequently walk great distances between the patient, the radiography or scanning equipment, the control room, and other hospital, clinic, or laboratory departments. multiple limb dexterity and awareness of good body mechanics are necessary for transferring and positioning patients appropriately for procedures. they exhibit limited to heavy levels of strength in transferring and positioning patients and imaging equipment, lifting supply containers and inserting heavy film cassettes. they must also have a well-developed capacity to visualize two- and three-dimensional spatial relationships.

Medical radiation technologists must enjoy interacting with others and be team players. they must be sensitive, compassionate, understanding and able to treat others with dignity and respect. they must also be polite and able to calm and placate upset individuals. they must have a good capacity for self-preservation as identifying patients' life-threatening pathologies can be emotionally challenging.

In the future, medical radiation technologists will need improved computer skills to operate advanced imaging and scanning technologies. hospitals and clinics are moving toward digital imaging systems, and electronic archives. additionally, technologists' responsibilities are being broadened to include more invasive procedures, such as angiographic examinations which use the computed tomography scanner to identify conditions while they are still in early stages of development. responsibilities of technologists are also being broadened in some provinces, and they are being asked to complete more invasive procedures that are usually done by other staff, such as injecting dyes. this extended role will increase technologists' use of decision making, problem solving and critical thinking skills, and increase the demands for continuous learning.


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