Laboratory – diagnostics – medical imaging careers

The medical diagnostic sector is doing well. The increasing elderly population has a direct impact on the level of the activity of labs and medical imaging requirements. While looming retirements should free up some positions, increased use of automated diagnostic and treatment procedures could slow down job creation.

OVERVIEW OF THE MEDICAL RADIATION TECHNOLOGIST AND LAB TECHNOLOGIST JOBS

Medical radiation technologist

The goal of medical imaging is to diagnose and treat injuries and diseases using various medical imaging techniques. Medical radiation technology includes three specialties: radiography, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine. Radiation technologists work in hospitals, oncology centres, clinics, radiology labs or within government organizations. 

Lab technologist

Lab tests are the most important medical diagnostic tool. To diagnose diseases, technologists use various processes such as medical lab tests, experiments and analyses. They are supported by lab technicians, who also run standard tests and maintain medical lab equipment in good condition. Medical lab technicians work for varied organizations in medical or research labs.

TYPICAL DUTIES

Medical radiation technologist

  • Produce x-rays or images.
  • Record and analyze patient data.
  • Do quality control checks on radiology equipment.
  • Provide patients with the necessary care during examinations.
  • Ensure that radiation protection rules are observed.

Lab technologist

  • Draw blood or other samples from patients.
  • Take tissue samples from patients.
  • Write patient contact information on the samples.
  • Arrange samples for testing.
  • Install medical lab equipment.
  • Study samples.
  • Clean medical equipment.

EDUCATION AND JOB REQUIREMENTS

Medical radiation technologist

  • Have a diploma of studies in medical radiation technology (three teaching modules and three clinical modules are required)
  • Have a college diploma or university degree approved by the province’s professional order
  • Pass the national certification exam of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists

Lab technologist

  • Have a college diploma (e.g. medical lab technology, biology, nursing)
  • Have taken a 6- to 14-month assistant or technician course

SKILLS AND PROFILE

Medical radiation technologist

  • Good analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to adapt to changing technology
  • Ability to work independently or as part of a team

Lab technologist

  • Ability to synthesize lots of information
  • Excellent colour vision
  • Good manual dexterity
  • Computer skills
  • Interested in people’s health
  • Good work hygiene and organization

 

CAREER PATH

Medical radiation technologist
Technologists who do radio diagnostics can specialize (e.g. mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound) or work in a new technology applied to radiation therapy or in nuclear medicine. They can also change fields entirely and work in sales or the development of new products for manufacturers of radiology equipment and devices.

Lab technologist
Technologists can move up the ladder internally by supervising lab technicians or work in other sectors of activity such as the pharmaceutical industry as research assistants, or the food or petrochemical industries

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