If you’re considering or have entered the necessary program to become a radiologic technologist, there is a specialty field to consider. Computed Tomography (CT) produces images that are far more detailed than a conventional X-ray image. As a Computed Tomography Technologist, you will discover a stable, profitable and hands-on career that will set you up for a life of success.

At The Tuffest Stuff, it’s our job to help prepare you for the CT Registry Exam. To help you decide if becoming a Computed Tomography Technologist is the right career path, we’re diving into the specialty skills and on-the-job duties required in the profession.

What does a Computed Tomography (CT) Technologist do?

Computed Tomography Technologists are imaging experts who use CT scanners to produce cross-section images of patients’ internal organs. These diagnostic images are used to check patients for specific symptoms, diseases or injuries. In order to get the most reliable image, a CT tech must be able to interpret a doctor’s scanning orders, administer contrast materials, prepare and work the CT scan equipment, and gently position the patient to capture the best images.

How Do CT Scans Work?

Computed Tomography is used to give technologists and doctors an inside look at the body’s primary organs. A narrow X-ray beam is directed to one portion of the patient’s body at a time, slice by slice. The CT tech must be able to accurately program and position the imaging equipment and patient to gather the detailed cross-sectional images.

The images are then sent to a computer that creates a cross-sectional picture. The CT scan can be used on many different areas of the body, like the brain, kidneys, abdomen and more. As the Computed Tomography Technologist, you’ll be responsible for taking a series of images to produce several visual slices of the patient’s anatomy. The computer then uses those images, stacking one on top of the other, to create a two-dimensional scan of the inside of the patient’s body. This type of imaging gives the doctor a view from all sides of the anatomy for better diagnosis and treatment.

What Is A CT Scan Used For?

Doctors request CT scans for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To detect complex bone or joint problems, like a tumor or bone fracture.
  • Monitor any changes in patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, emphysema, or liver masses.
  • Discover internal bleeding or injuries like those that can be caused by a traumatic incident, like a car crash.
  • Help spot infection, excess fluid, tumor or blood clot.

Once the doctor has the imaging, he can use the pictures to help guide him through treatment procedures like a surgery, biopsy or radiation therapy. The images also allow the doctor to monitor a particular organ or tumor to see how treatment is working.

CT Tech Skills

Being a successful Computed Tomography Technologist requires generally good health, as you’ll be required to manipulate the machinery and equipment. You’ll also deal with patients who may be disabled or physically unable to move due to an injury. It will be your responsibility to safely position the patient and the equipment in a way that allows for clear imaging.

In addition, learning and following proper safety procedures is a must. CT scanners emit radiation, and if you don’t abide by the safety guidelines, you and the patient could be exposed to the harmful radiation.

You will be required to create pictures of the patient’s anatomy, bones and other tissues to check for specific symptoms, diseases and injuries. A thorough understanding of human anatomy is necessary to perform the job well. Communicating clearly and calmly to the patient is also a primary skill you’ll develop as a CT tech. In traumatic situations, you’ll need to keep the patient calm as you complete the imaging process.

During the Computed Tomography process, the patient will lie on a table attached to the CT scanner. A large donut-shaped machine scans the patient’s body, creating those cross-sectional images. At times, you will need to administer a contrast medium to the patient so the images will reveal additional details. A skilled Computed Tomography Technologist will place the IV to inject the contrast medium into the patient’s vascular system to make patient anatomy and blood vessels more distinct on the image.

CT Tech Education And Job Outlook

To achieve Computed Tomography Technologist status, you must earn at least an associate degree in radiologic technology, obtain a state license if required, and earn certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technology by passing the CT Registry Exam.

CT techs are also certified in CPR, obtain IV certification and complete 24 hours of ongoing education every two years in order to maintain their license and credential. By completing this list of education and certification requirements, you are qualified to work in the many places where CT techs are needed, like a hospital, outpatient center, trauma center, certain doctor’s offices, and immediate-care facilities.

The demand for Computed Tomography Technologists is only increasing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects by the year 2022, employment of technologists will grow 21 percent. As the population ages and becomes more at risk for diseases and other health issues, the need for qualified Computed Tomography Technologists will increase tremendously to ensure proper imaging is performed to diagnose patients.

Due to the constant need for medical care, you often have the option of working hours that you want, rather than a traditional 9 to 5. CT techs are needed in the evenings, over night, weekends, holidays and more.