Radiographer vs. Radiologist: Delivering the Best Understanding of the Two Roles

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Sep 27, 2018

Sep 27, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

There are several professional roles in the healthcare industry, all in high demand. In fact, the need for healthcare professionals in the US is consistently on the rise. And with such a variety of roles in the industry, it's easy to confuse one type of job position with another.

This is especially common in the radiology field. Job titles in this field are similar, and many of these roles may perform similar duties. For example, you may not be clear about the differences between a radiologist and radiographer.

Maybe you're thinking about entering the field. Or perhaps you have friends or family who work in radiology. Either way, if you find yourself wondering about these roles and radiography vs. radiology, you aren't alone.

Read on for a clear description of the differences between a radiographer and radiologist.

It Starts with the Radiographer

A radiographer is a healthcare professional who performs a medical imaging scan. Radiographers can choose to pursue two-year or four-year degrees. Then, they can become certified.

Medical radiographers are trained and educated to understand anatomy, medical terminology, and technology. This enables them to accurately scan and image a specific area of a patient's body. An aspiring medical technologist may become a general radiographer. Or, they can specialize in an area such as mammography or bone densitometry.

Today's radiographers do more than use x-ray machines. New, more advanced imaging tools mean for training for radiographers. A skilled radiographer is competent in different and sometimes complex types of scanning.

Radiologists depend on medical technologists for scans to help them make diagnoses. The diagnostic process begins with the radiographer. There are countless reasons why radiologic technologists are vital to the medical industry. You can learn more here.

The Diagnostic Process Continues with the Radiologist

Radiologists are specialized physicians. They are trained and educated to use medical images to diagnose and treat their patients. A radiologist reviews and interprets medical scans to aid in making diagnoses.

Radiologists pursue higher education than radiographers. They must earn an undergraduate degree and then attend medical school. Then they move on to complete a residency in radiology, which is four years.

A radiologist is a diagnostician. He or she may not treat a patient directly. Rather, radiologists collaborate with other doctors and medical professionals. They work together to diagnose and define medical conditions and create treatment plans.

Beyond Radiology - The Countless Roles in Healthcare and Medicine

You won't only find confusing role titles in the field of radiology. The healthcare and medical industries have many similar types of roles. This is because many different professionals help keep people healthy.

Radiographers, radiologists, radiology nurses, and other radiology specialists are always needed. But if radiology isn't for you, there are many different paths to success in the healthcare industry.

Browse our blog to learn more about the fastest growing jobs in healthcare. We also offer tips on alternative career options for medical students and physicians.