University of Utah Medical School X-Ray Technician Programs and Info

performing x-ray checkup

Radiologic Technologists are one of the fastest growing jobs in the healthcare industry. Specialty fields within radiography are in especially high demand, and the education for these careers can be completed in about two years. The University of Utah Medical School offers several specialty programs for Radiologic Technologists: Nuclear Medicine Technologist, MRI Technologist, Advanced Ultrasound Internship, CT Technologist and a degree in Interventional Radiology.

What Is a Radiologic Technologist?

x-ray of the jaw

Image Via: Pixabay

Radiography refers to the medical tests designed to look inside the body using x-ray technologies. The Radiologic Technologist produces the images used by primary care providers that help guide them in the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of different illnesses or injuries. Radiologic Technologists work directly with patients to create these images in the safest ways possible as they also understand how to monitor and work with the technologies they use on a daily basis.

Radiologic Technologists are vital in the medical community. Radiography is used in all medical fields including dental, oncology, orthopedics, chiropractic, emergency, and surgery.

There are several specialties within the field of radiography and the University of Utah Medical School offers degree programs in the fields of Nuclear Medicine Technologist, MRI Technologist, Advanced Ultrasound Internship, CT Technologist and a degree in Interventional Radiology. Below, we discuss these specialties in more detail.

Radiologic Technologists Tasks

  • Collaborate with physicians and others on the patient’s care team
  • Offer guidance and support to patients
  • Educate patients on needs for the procedure and how to complete the procedure
  • Follow safe guidelines to minimize unnecessary radiation exposure
  • Read and interpret orders and referrals with accuracy
  • Choose procedures needed to fulfill orders
  • Ensure imaging quality
  • Complete charting, paperwork, and inspections
  • Maintain equipment or arrange for its maintenance

Educational Requirements

Legal education requirements vary by location., but in general, to become a licensed Radiologic Technologist it requires at least two years of formalized education in an accredited program at an academic institution or hospital. An associates degree or a bachelor's degree is needed. Radiography Technologists must also pass a national certification exam through the American Registry of Radiography Technologists (ARRT) and earn ongoing continuing education units.

Associate Degree in Radiology

anatomy

Image Via: Pixabay

Associates degrees in Radiologic Technology are usually sufficient to enter the job market and can be obtained through most of the University of Utah Medical School programs. They provide all of the basic science courses, clinical skills coursework, and patient interaction classes needed for a firm foundation in radiography. These programs can be completed in 18 months to 36 months when attending full time. These degrees are also offered at community colleges and technical schools.

Bachelor's Degree in Radiology

A Bachelor’s degree in Radiologic Technology typically offers a deeper understanding of the theories of radiography and advanced radiographic imaging techniques. Classes dive deeper into subjects such as ethics, physics, and pathology on top of the basics of radiography taught in an Associated level program. Most people can complete a Bachelor's degree, such as the Nuclear Medicine Technologist at the University of Utah Medical School in about four years.

Certificates in Radiology

Certificates in Radiologic Technology can be earned as a way of entering the job market, in combination with earning an Associates or Bachelors degree, or an advanced certification beyond the basics of Radiology Technology. Certificates typically take about two years to complete and should be thought of as an adjunct for education rather than a substitute. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification requires an Associate's Degree.

Foundational certificates in radiology can be earned with no prior experience or training. Advanced certificates are obtained by individuals already working in the radiology field who want deeper training or the ability to specialize. The University of Utah Medical School offers several specialty certificates for advanced studies including MRI Technologist, Advanced Ultrasound Internship, CT Technologist and a degree in Interventional Radiology.

The University of Utah's Medical School Radiologic Technologist Programs

medical center

Image Via: Pixabay

The Radiologic Technologist Programs offered at the University of Utah Medical School vary in the area of study, length of programs, and who is accepted into each program. Some are designed for entry-level students, while others require a previous degree or certification. What they have in common is preparing the future Radiologic Technologist for a solid career in imaging or radiology with a program housed within the well-renowned University of Utah Medical School.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nuclear Medicine includes imaging techniques combined with radioactive chemicals to create images of internal body systems and treat diseases, alleviating the need for more invasive and expensive tests and procedures. It uses a combination of computer technology, chemistry, radioactivity, medical instrumentation, and physics. Nuclear Medicine Technologists (NMTs) work closely with nuclear medicine physicians to diagnose and treat.

Some NMT tasks include:

  • Work with radiopharmaceuticals
  • Use radiation-detection instrumentation to create patient images
  • Complete image enhancement and computer processing
  • Laboratory analyzation of substances
  • Provide images and data analysis to the physician
  • Works directly with the patient
  • Obtaining pertinent medical history
  • Educates the patient on procedure and answers questions
  • Monitors the patients during the procedure

The University of Utah Medical School offers two programs of study to prepare the Radiologic Technologist to work as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist (NMT). There is a two-year certificate course for individuals who already hold a Bachelor’s degree and a four-year BS in Health Education and Promotion with Emphasis in Nuclear Medicine Technology for students without a Bachelor’s degree. They also offer advanced placement for certified Radiologic Technologists.

All programs offer a Certificate of Completion in NMT and Computerized Tomography (CT) that allows the certificate holder to be eligible to sit for the NMT and CT certification examinations (NMTCB and/or ARRT). The Joint Review Committee on Education in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT-2017) certifies the program yearly.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist

mri scanner

Image Via: Unsplash

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a relatively safe procedure that does not actually use radiation, even though it is classified within the radiography technologies. It uses a magnetic field and a computer to create cross-sectional images of a patient’s anatomy in three-dimensional planes. It can be used to view most parts of the body, including organs and soft tissues in addition to the bones structures. It does require some safety protocols as it will pull on all metal in the vicinity.

Some MRI Technologist Tasks

  • Make judgments about the MRI pulse sequencing
  • Decide gradient magnetic fields and anatomic slice orientations
  • Understand the details of atomic structure, computers, electromagnetics, and magnetic fields
  • Know and employ sterile technique and contrast media
  • Venipuncture and emergency management
  • Work with claustrophobic patients
  • Employ magnetic safety techniques

The MRI program at the University of Utah Medical School enables the student to be ready for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) (MRI) examination. The certificate obtained by passing the ARRT exam is what enables individuals to work within MRI. This is not an entry-level program; the applicant must already hold Radiography (ARRT), Radiation Therapy (ARRT), or Nuclear Medicine Technology (ARRT or NMTCB) certification.

Advanced Ultrasound Internships

patient ultrasound

Image Via: Pixabay

Diagnostic Medical Sonography is the use of advanced ultrasound to diagnose and treat advanced complications in the body. There are two main areas of diagnostic medical sonography; Maternal Fetal Medicine and Radiology Ultrasound. Either of these is advanced training offered to one student per year at the University of Utah Medical School. The program includes 500 hours of clinical training in 3-6 months. Applicants must already hold an active ARDMS license.

Tasks of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Include

  • Be familiar with fetal anatomy
  • Understand fetal anomalies
  • Perform prenatal diagnostic imaging
  • Perform 2D and 3D/4D ultrasound
  • Perform abdominal dopplers
  • Understand abdominal/gynecological abnormalities

Computed Tomography (CT)

Computed Tomography, commonly known as CT scans, is the process of using ionizing radiation and computer technology to obtain cross-sectional images of different parts of the body, such as the skeletal system, brain, and abdomen. It is commonly used in emergency medicine for obtaining diagnoses in trauma patients.

Tasks of CT Technologist

  • Know anatomy
  • Make judgments about the image in relation to anatomy
  • Know contrast media and equipment operation
  • Understand and implement sterile technique and emergency procedures
  • Venipuncture and intravenous therapy
  • Compassionate care of trauma and cancer patients
  • Post-processing image reconstruction
  • Maintain safe levels of procedural dose levels

The University of Utah Medical School offers a six (6) month program in Computerized Tomography (CT) for Radiologic Technologists RT (R), Radiation Therapists RTR (T) or Nuclear Medicine Technologists RT (N) or NMTB who already hold a certificate. The appropriate clinical experience combined with a passing CT examination of 150 multiple-choice questions awards the technologist with the ARRT post-primary certification.

ir checkup

Image Via: Pixabay

Interventional Radiology (IR)

Interventional radiology (IR) is a specialty within radiology that uses minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat disease. These newer techniques are considered to have less risk, less pain, and quicker recovery time when used in place of surgery. Fine catheters and needles are used with radiological image guidance to pinpoint treatment in very small areas of the body at once.

Tasks of the IR Technologists

  • Identify and prepare appropriate areas
  • Tray set up for physician
  • Draping patient
  • Maintain a sterile environment
  • Equipment setup for physician
  • Flush and prepare toolsv
  • Anticipate help for next steps
  • Administer contrast media
  • Assist in pre-procedure, intra-procedure, and post-procedure patient care
  • Assist physician as needed

To become an IR Technologist, University of Utah Medical School offers a 9-month program for those who are already Certified in Radiography through ARRT. This program is open to one student at the school per year. The program includes 700-900 clinical hours and 120 classroom hours.  The curriculum is based on requirements from the American Society of Radiologic Technologist (ASRT) and the Association of Educators in the Radiological Sciences, Inc.

Conclusion

hospital scanner

Image Via: Pixabay

The University of Utah Medical School offers many specialized programs that enable the Radiologic Technologist to expand their skill set and branch into satisfying and intriguing fields. Nuclear Medicine Technologist, MRI Technologist, Advanced Ultrasound Internship, CT Technologist and Interventional Radiology are vital parts of the medical community.