CT Technologist Job Description

A CT technologist uses computed tomography (X-ray) equipment to take images of a patient’s body from different angles. Their work helps locate internal injuries and diagnose diseases. CT technologists prepare patients for exams by answering their questions and positioning them for minimal radiation exposure. People with good interpersonal skills and a desire to use technology for patient care will thrive in this role.

While operating scanning equipment, trained CT technologists use industry standard techniques and radiation safety practices. They also help physicians interpret radiological images after exams are performed. CT technologists normally work full or part time in hospitals, clinical settings, research labs, and other medical facilities.


CT Technologist Duties and Responsibilities

While a CT 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 Patients for Computed Tomography Procedures

CT technologists prepare patients for procedures by providing clear instructions and answering questions to reduce anxiety. They select the appropriate program for desired results. Part of a CT tehnologist’s job is positioning a patient to scan the area of interest according to their ability and comfort. They immobilize patients as required.

Operate Computed Tomography Equipment

The essential task of a CT technologist is operating computed tomography equipment and accessories. They perform tube warm-ups and calibrations daily. CT technologists apply principles of radiation protection during exams to minimize unnecessary exposure.

Provide Direct Patient Care

CT technologists are responsible for providing healthcare services to patients while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere. They transport patients to and from their respective X-ray department, follow sterilization procedures, and use caution when in direct contact with patients. Occasionally, CT technologists handle hazardous materials and must ensure that there is no patient cross-contamination.

Sterilize X-Ray Equipment and Perform Maintenance

Sterilizing and cleaning radiologic equipment are additional responsibilities of CT technologists. They perform aseptic techniques according to established standards of care and infection control. They are responsible for making sure all equipment is safe for use and free of any unhealthy bacteria.

Implement Continuous Improvement Procedures

CT technologists also perform continuous quality improvement. They collect data, conduct patient surveys, and cooperate with quality assurance teams. CT technologists evaluate the technical quality of their exams and use different techniques to elevate this quality. They also collaborate with other parties to resolve image quality issues.


CT Technologist Skills and Qualifications

CT technologists have personable demeanors and a strong understanding of anatomy and computerized tomography. Employers seek candidates with an official radiologic technician certification, graduation from an accredited program, and one year of experience. The following skills are essential getting the job done:

  • CT scanning – technologists need a strong understanding of the procedures and protocols involved in CT scanning
  • Physical fitness – CT technicians are on their feet for long periods of time and must also move heavy equipment
  • Interpersonal skills – technologists must quickly build relationships with patients to make patient exams as smooth as possible
  • Experience providing basic life support – CT technologists are required to initiate life support actions when needed
  • Math skills – these technicians often calculate figures for and apply basic algebraic concepts to their procedures
  • Problem-solving skills – solving practical problems and dealing with a variety of challenges during procedures are essential skills for CT technologists
  • Familiarity with sterilization techniques – technologists practice aseptic cleaning techniques to prevent bacterial contamination of their equipment
  • Communication skills – CT technologists regularly communicate with staff, physicians, and patients both verbally and in writing


Tools of the Trade

CT technologists are comfortable using the following software and equipment in a typical workday:

  • Computerized tomography equipment (computers, optical disc units, gantries, power injectors)
  • Radiology equipment


CT Technologist Education and Training

To be gainfully employed, CT technologists must have a high school diploma and graduate from an accredited radiology program. Some employers offer additional on-the-job training, but all require that a credential from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and Basic Life Support (BLS) certification be obtained by within the first few months of employment.


CT Technologist Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for radiologic technologists (including CT technologists) is $58,440. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $39,840; the highest 10 percent earn more than $84,110. Industry employment for CT technologists is expected to grow 12 percent through 2026. The BLS notes that this is faster than average for all occupations. As the general population continues to age, the demand for diagnostic imaging will increase.


Helpful Resources

We searched the web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a CT technologist. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect, and engage:

American Registry of Radiologic Technologists – as the official licensing organization for aspiring professionals within the industry, ARRT offers registration credentials to help you stand out and land your first position

American Heart Association – AHA is a health organization offering the Basic Life Support certification that many employers require

Computed Tomography for Technologists: A Comprehensive Text – this all-in-one book will help you develop the knowledge and decision-making skills needed for clinical practice while preparing you to take the ARRT registry exam

Computed Tomography for Technologists: Exam Review this book provides questions, examples, and a mock exam to help you pass the ARRT general radiography and computer tomography exams

Becoming a Radiologic Technologist – read this book to review the best radiology schools and explore this career’s many pathways

Step-by-Step CT Scan – discover the ever-growing field of computed tomography using computer analysis. This handy pocket book also provides the information needed to manage a CT scan process


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