CAT Scan Technologist Job Description
A CAT scan technologist, also known as a computed tomography or CT technologist, is a highly skilled professional who uses specialized computerized equipment to produce anatomical images that help doctors diagnose and treat patients. Successful CAT scan technologists provide excellent patient care with minimal supervision. By taking scans of a patient’s tissue and organs, their work highlights internal diseases, injuries, and disorders. CAT scan technologists operate in hospitals, outpatient medical facilities, doctor's offices, and medical laboratories. They perform their work under the direction of a certified radiologist or manager.
CAT Scan Duties and Responsibilities
While a CAT scan technologist’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Prepare Examination Room
CAT scan technologists prepare examination rooms for patient exams and check equipment, making sure it is functional. They inventory MRI rooms ensuring that all needed supplies are present.
Perform CAT Scan Exams
CAT scan technologists use diagnostic CT equipment to carry out MRI procedures with ingenuity and initiative. Once complete, they produce and carefully review CT images for technical quality. Their insight is trusted to properly identify images and provide input on scan results.
Provide Patient Care
CAT scan technologists provide direct patient care to people of all ages and backgrounds. They acquire a patient’s history, describe standard operating procedures, answer questions and patient concerns. They prepare patients for scans, consulting with physicians as needed. CAT scan technologists are often required to physically position patients for successful CAT scan procedures.
Collaborate and Consult with Physicians
CAT scan technologists report important information to physicians. They also assist doctors in dispensing sedatives to patients before completing a scan. By keeping accurate records and performing other duties as assigned, they help physicians provide effective care.
Complete Administration work
Handling relevant administrative work is another important task of CAT scan technologists. For instance, according to department procedures, they request scans and record patient scan time. They print and store previous medical images and film and report any needed machine services and repairs.
CAT Scan Technologist Skills and Qualifications
Successful CAT scan technologists are self-motivated with good interpersonal skills and the desire to work in a medical setting. Employers typically expect candidates to have an associate’s degree, at least one year of experience, AART certification, and the following skills:
- Radiology – knowledge of general radiology techniques is essential for CAT scan technologists who may work throughout a department
- Computerized tomography – CAT scan technologists must possess a strong understanding of correct exam protocol for technical imaging
- Customer service – patient care skills are essential for CAT scan technologists
- Writing skills – to complete reports and medical documentation
- Team collaboration – maintain patient confidentiality, ability to work cooperatively within a team
- Physical requirements – physical demands of CAT scan technicians include being on their feet for long periods of time and carrying items up to 50 pounds
- Critical thinking – problem-solving is an essential skill for CAT scan technologists
Tools of the Trade
CAT scan technologists work in a medical service environment and are comfortable using the following software and equipment in a typical workday:
- CT scan imaging machine
- Radiology equipment
- Protective gear (lead aprons, gloves, and other shielding devices)
CAT Scan Technologist Education and Training
It is common for CAT scan technologists to have an associate’s degree. To work, CAT scan technologists also have to obtain certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Courses typically involve a classroom component plus clinical work, and cover topics such as human anatomy, pathology, radiation, and patient care.
CAT Scan Technologist Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for CAT scan technologists is $69,930. The lowest ten percent of earners make less than $48,600. The highest ten percent of earners make more than $97,460.
Industry employment of CAT scan technologists is expected to grow 12 percent through 2026, which the BLS notes is faster than average for all occupations. The aging of the baby boomer generation is expected to generate an increase in diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, which utilize imaging as a diagnostic tool. CAT scan technologists will be needed to meet this demand.
We searched the web to find the best industry resources to help you explore a career as a Cat scan technologist. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect, and engage:
American Society of Radiologic Technologists – Get resources to plan your career as a CAT scan technologist and access the latest job listings.
Computed Tomography for Technologists: A Comprehensive Text – Prepare yourself to successfully pass the General Radiography or Computer Tomography exams with helpful resources to help you learn how to operate in a clinical setting.
American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) – ARRT is the leading credentialing organization that recognizes qualified individuals in medical imaging and radiation therapy.
Pocket Atlas of Body CT Anatomy (Radiology Pocket Atlas Series) – Learn how to recognize body structures on a CT scan. This book is full of helpful images and labels that will sharpen your speed and accuracy as a CAT scan technologist.
Mosby's Exam Review for Computed Tomography – This is an in-depth study guide and review that covers three content areas of the CT advanced certification examination: patient care, imaging procedures, and physics/instrumentation.
Step-by-Step CT Scan – This handy-to-use pocketbook provides the information necessary to manage a CT scan.