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X-ray technicians, or medical radiation technologists (MRTs), are specialists in diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy treatments. Radiological (X-ray) technologists are trained in a number of specialties, including plain film (X-ray) technology; mammography; computerized tomography (CT scans); angiographies (heart and blood-flow monitoring), and fluoroscopy (real-time images depicting movement). MRTs are regulated by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists and by provincial registering/licensing bodies. Diagnostic imaging technology is evolving quickly and becoming more prevalent in health care facilities, therefore the need for MRTs is also increasing.
Decide your specialization. Specializations can be in one or more of the following four disciplines: general radiography, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy.
Complete a medical radiation technology (MRT) program from an accredited education provider. Both university degree and college diploma programs are accepted. (See Resource 2 for a list of CAMRT accredited providers.)
Course topics usually include anatomy, patient care, equipment protocols and setup, patient positioning, clinical protocols, examination techniques, and radiation protection.
Write and pass the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists examination. The exam is offered three times a year, usually in January, May and September. As of June 2010, the cost to write the exam was $800 CAD.
Prep guides and practice exams are available on the CAMRT website (see Resources 3).
Register with an appropriate association or college (if applicable in your province).
Alberta--Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic & Therapeutic Technologists (ACMDTT)
British Columbia--British Columbia Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (BCAMRT)
Manitoba--Manitoba Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (MAMRT)
New Brunswick--New Brunswick Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (NBAMRT)
Newfoundland and Labrador--Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (NAMRT)
Nova Scotia--Nova Scotia Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (NSAMRT)
Ontario--College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario (CMRTO)/Ordre des technologues en radiation médicale de l'Ontario (OTRMO)
Prince Edward Island--Prince Edward Island Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (PEIAMRT)
Quebec--Ordre des Technologues en Radiologie du Québec
Saskatchewan--Saskatchewan Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (SAMRT)
Most radiological examinations involve exposure to low levels of radiation. Technologists can wear protective coverings or stand behind barriers to avoid radiation exposure.