Medical Imaging

What Is a Medical Imaging Degree?

Medical imaging has taken the basic x-ray and turned it into technology that can scan an entire body layer by layer. Medical imaging is an important part of any healthcare programme. Patients require medical imaging for all sorts of reasons. Whether the patient needs an x-ray to determine whether a bone has been broken or the patient requires an MRI – magnetic resource imaging – to determine the existence of a brain tumour, the medical imager assists doctors and their patients in preparing the patient, taking and generating the image for diagnosing purposes.

Medical imaging also plays a key role in continuing patient care. An ultrasound, for example, keeps OB GYNs and mums-to-be apprised of the health and development of the foetus throughout the pregnancy. Cancer patients oftentimes receive medical imaging throughout their cancer treatments to assess the reduction of cancerous tumours and tissue. A patient with arthritis or a broken bone might receive regular imaging to view the progression of the joint and tissue deterioration or the healing of the fracture, respectively. Throughout a patient’s history, medical images are often used to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and the ongoing condition of the patient.

Medical researchers also rely upon medical imaging to assist them in their work. As with patient care, medical imaging gives researchers an ongoing pictorial account of the before, during and after of the condition or treatment under research. A medical imaging degree teaches students how to take these various medical images on the appropriate imaging equipment, as well as how to perform initial review and diagnosis of said image. Earning the degree is critical to a student’s success, as this job is not something one can simply walk into. Specialised training is required for the student to understand the imaging process and operate the related machinery.

Job Opportunities

Students graduating with a medical imaging degree are ready to become diagnostic radiographers. Diagnostic radiographers take many different types of images using several different pieces of equipment. Images taken include angiographs to determine blood vessel health and potential blockage, computed tomography for body imaging, MRIs to build 2D or 3D images of tissues, radio nuclide imaging to assess organ function and health, x-rays to look at bones and body cavities and ultrasound imaging, which produces the visual image using high frequency sound technology.

Alongside taking and developing the image, in many cases, the diagnostic radiographer will also interpret the results, giving the doctor an initial analysis of the patient’s condition based upon the medical image. The diagnostic radiographer might also be called upon for input as to the best treatment plan for the patient.

A diagnostic radiographer salary is a broad one. Beginning imagers earn anywhere from £21,176 to £27,625; senior radiographers earn £25,528 to £34,189; lead radiographers earn £30,460 to £40,157; consultant radiographers earn up to £67,134.

Medical Imaging Curriculum

Medical imaging curriculum is science based with students needing a strong command of the physical and biological sciences. Students will also learn disease processes, medical research and diagnosis. The students will learn to apply all skills to patient treatment and care. Students will be trained in the classroom and laboratory environments, and will also learn how to use medical imaging equipment of various types hands-on to ensure they are ready for the medical imaging workforce.

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