X-Ray Technologist vs. X-Ray Technician: What’s the Difference?

It’s not as interesting a question as “X-Ray Technologist vs. X-Ray Technician: Who Would Win in a Steel Cage Death Match?”, but it’s important nonetheless to know that there is indeed a difference between the two titles, even though they’re often used interchangeably.

Basically, an x-ray (or radiologic) technologist is a health care professional; an x-ray technician is not. An x-ray technologist works directly with patients; an x-ray technician does not. A technologist operates x-ray machines to take x-ray photos of patients; a technician is responsible only for repairing x-ray machinery.

Training to become an x-ray technologist typically involves course studies in medical subjects like anatomy and physiology, plus professional certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). An x-ray technician needs none of these things. Thus, if a school advertises courses for “x-ray technicians” that are medical in nature, chances are they’re actually talking about x-ray technologists.

Some people (and some x-ray websites) may also inadvertently use “technician” to refer to the “technologist” career type. Similarly, when people (or websites) talk about “x-ray techs,” they mean x-ray technologists. To be sure, you might want to double-check to make sure which field you’re reading about. (Hint: here, you’re safe and sound in technologist land.)

Also see: