Career Profiles

The profession of Medical Radiation Technology is made up of four distinct and unique disciplines of practice. Each one has advantages and challenges that draw different people to them.

The three disciplines of Medical Radiological Technology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Nuclear Medicine focus of the detection and diagnosis of disease, injury or other changes to the patient's body. Radiation Therapy deals with planning and delivery of treatment mainly for cancer patients. As a course of radiation treatment can extend over several weeks, and patients may have one or more courses of treatment the Radiation Therapist has a key role in patient education and ongoing assessment. Although the areas of diagnostic imaging tend to be single experiences, people often have several diagnostic procedures in their lives, and that single experience can be life altering.

When a person is trying to chose a life long career there are a lot of factors that must be taken into account. Following are a few differences between the four disciplines.

If you are interested in the fast paced action of a 24 hour emergency setting then Medical Radiological Technology or Magnetic Resonance Imaging might be for you. Radiation Therapy tends to be a Monday to Friday daytime setting, whereas Nuclear Medicine also has some flexibility in its work hours.

Someone who wishes to work in a rural or Northern setting would be best suited to Medical Radiological Technology as the others tend to be limited to larger urban centres like Winnipeg and Brandon.

Medical Radiological Technology also offers the most diversity within the workplace, from large hospital settings to smaller private clinics. By contrast, all Radiation Therapists work at CancerCare Manitoba - currently the only Radiation Therapy facility in Manitoba.

All four disciplines face the constant challenge of changing technology in the workplace, and the stress of working in a health care setting, where often the resources are stretched. At different times all four disciplines have faced severe shortages in the workplace, however it is difficult to predict what the future holds for each individual profession. At this time, the demand appears to be increasing in all areas of health care, and each profession projects shortages in the future.

Medical Radiological Technology

Your Job as a Medical Radiological Technologist is to perform diagnostic/interventional imaging procedures using radiation (x-rays). These procedures may include general radiological imaging (e.g.: chest, abdominal, skeletal, gastrointestinal studies and procedures in the operating room). More advanced imaging are mammography (to detect breast cancer), computerized tomography (CT or CAT scans), and angiography (to look at the heart and blood vessels).

Some of your responsibilities are:

  1. Explain the procedure to the patient
  2. Make sure the patient has the correct preparation
  3. Assist or administer contrast media for certain examinations
  4. Explain possible reactions, side effects with contrast media
  5. Position the patient for images
  6. Acquire the images using diagnostic radiation (x-rays)
  7. Critique the images
  8. Process and manipulate images
  9. Provide patient care
  10. Maintain a safe environment for you and your patient
  11. Carry out quality control on imaging and processing equipment
  12. Keep current with technology
  13. Assist in teaching and evaluating students.

Job Opportunities: You are able to work at different types of hospitals or clinics across Canada. There are full and part time jobs available at many of these places. Other opportunities include education, management, commercial sales and research. Note: Many hospitals require technologists to work days, evening, and nights, including weekends.
Your education includes: The Medical Radiologic Technology is a two year diploma program. Currently students complete an integrated program of studies at Red River College and practicum in a clinical setting.

ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS - 27 credit hours of post-secondary education

  1. Introduction to Physics (6 credits)
  2. Anatomy and Physiology (6 credits)
  3. Introduction to Sociology (6 credits)
  4. Structure and Modeling in Chemistry(3 credits)
  5. Basic Statistical Analysis (3 credits)
  6. Written Communications (3 credits)

For official entry requirements visit http://www.rrc.mb.ca/ After completion of the program students are eligible to write the Canadian Association of Medical Radiological Technologists (CAMRT) exams.

You earn: approximate range: $48,000-80,000

The profession offers the following rewards:

  • Helping People: A career in health care provides the opportunity to help many people. Radiology plays an important role in finding a diagnosis and treating patients.
  • Variety: This profession requires one to work with other health care professionals and patients as well as use a knowledge base to perform their duties. This allows one to utilize both interpersonal skills and their technical aptitude. Different areas within Radiology depend on different skills.
  • Continuous Improvement: Medical Radiological Technologists are supported to improve their skills and knowledge. The opportunity exists to get involved in special projects, attend conferences or seminars and take additional courses.
  • Advancing Technology: The field of Radiology continues to change with all the advances in technology. This provides the opportunity for Technologists to continue learning and to have changes in daily responsibilities.
  • Team Work: Medical Radiological Technologists utilize their communication and interpersonal skills to work together as a team to provide the best possible care and treatment to the patient.

This profession has the following challenges:

  • Stress: As with any profession, Medical Radiological Technologists may occasionally work under stressful conditions. Technologists strive to keep on schedule to prevent the next patient from waiting. In a hospital setting, Technologists occasionally work with patients that are unwell or have a poor prognosis. Successful Medical Radiological Technologists find that communicating effectively with co-workers, family and friends and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be helpful.
  • Variety: Most Medical Radiological Departments have a broad range of procedures. Typically a technologist will rotate through different rotations. For example, one week a technologist may be in general duty, the next week in the OR, and the next week in CT.
  • Opportunity for Advancement: There is a wide range of facilities across Canada. These include small rural hospitals, community hospitals, clinics and teaching or tertiary hospitals. Typically most departments have General Duty Technologists and a few higher positions such as Senior Technologist, Charge Technologist, Chief Technologist, Clinical Instructor, and Manager. After gaining sufficient work experience, Medical Radiological Technologists may gain employment outside of Radiology Departments. A few examples include sales and application specialists.
  • Physical Requirements: Standing and walking as well as lifting and moving patients and equipment is an integral part of the position. Medical Radiological Technologists find that the physical stamina can be demanding. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle allows this to be very manageable.

To find out more about this profession, and the Medical Radiologic Technology program please visit the Red River College website. http://www.rrc.mb.ca/

Medical Radiation Therapy

Your Job as a Radiation Therapist is to prepare, plan and deliver radiation therapy treatments to cancer patients requiring radiation therapy.

You are responsible to:

  1. Prepare and position patients for radiation therapy treatments.
  2. Operate or assist in the operation of a wide variety of equipment used to prepare and deliver radiation therapy treatments including treatment units, simulators, film processors, treatment planning computers, etc.
  3. Generate dose distributions to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for a patient.
  4. Perform calculations relevant to planning and the delivery of treatment, verify calculations performed by other therapists.
  5. Ensure accuracy in the performance of all phases of radiation therapy treatment preparation and delivery. Ensure that all phases are documented to create a detailed record of the patient treatment.
  6. Carry out quality control checks on equipment, reporting any deficiencies to the proper personnel for action.
  7. Prepare casts, moulds, shells and beam shaping devices for radiation therapy.
  8. Provide patient care with dignity and respect for the individual.
  9. Provide explanations to patients regarding the specific procedures with clear explanations on anticipated reactions, which may occur, offering information on the care to minimize the reaction.
  10. Monitor patients' reaction to treatment and changes in physical or mental status, reporting change to the appropriate person.
  11. Keep familiar with regulation changes regarding radiation health and safety for self, patients and visitors.
  12. Assist in teaching and evaluating students.
  13. Provide emergency, after-hours treatment to patients when required.

You will be employed by: cancer treatment centers in Manitoba (Winnipeg and Brandon) and across Canada. Other opportunities include education, management, commercial sales and research.

Your education includes:

High School Physics 40S, Mathematics 40S, English 40S, and recommend Biology and Chemistry 40S. Entry into a Radiation Therapy Program requires a minimum of 24 credits of post secondary courses including:

  1. Introduction to Physics (6 credits)
  2. Anatomy and Physiology (6 credits)
  3. Introduction to Sociology (6 credits)
  4. Basic Statistical Analysis (3 credits)
  5. Written Communications (3 credits)
  6. Also recommend Chemistry ( 6 credits) as part of a full 30 credit Year I University curriculum.

Following a 28 month program graduates who complete the Radiation Therapy Diploma program at CancerCare Manitoba are eligible to write the Canadian Association of Medical Radiological Technologists (CAMRT) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examinations.

You earn: $58,000 to $80,000+ per year

The profession offers the following rewards:

  • Problem Solving: Radiation Therapists are instrumental in planning and administering radiation treatments to cancer patients. Since people are different shapes and sizes with various limitations and status of disease, the treatment approach must be customized. This often involves overcoming obstacles. Top performers enjoy adapting and using their math and physics problem solving skills to provide radiation treatments with appropriate standards.
  • Helping People: The primary focus of this position is to prepare, plan and administer radiation treatments to cancer patients. Radiation Therapists take pride in the fact that their efforts can have a significant impact on the lives of their patients.
  • Variety: This profession requires one to work with other health care professionals and patients as well as use a knowledge base to perform their duties. This allows one to utilize both interpersonal skills and their technical aptitude. Different areas within the Radiation Therapy department depend on different skills.
  • Continuous Improvement: Successful Radiation Therapists are encouraged to improve their personal performance. The opportunity exists to get involved in special projects, attend conferences or seminars and to take on leadership roles.
  • Team Work: Radiation Therapists utilize their communication and interpersonal skills to work together as a team to provide the best possible care and treatment to the patient.

This profession has the following challenges:

  • Stress: Radiation Therapists often work under stressful conditions due to meeting deadlines, high workload due to high number of patients requiring treatment and the emotional stress of dealing with patients whose cancer is not responding well to treatment. Successful Radiation Therapists find that communicating effectively with co-workers, family and friends and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be helpful.
  • Variety: Successful Radiation Therapists enjoy the variety that is inherent when dealing with different people, thus helping to avoid the monotony, which can sometimes occur due to the repetitive nature of the technical work.
  • Opportunity for Advancement: This profession is extremely specialized which limits opportunity for employment to major centres that have a cancer centre. Since the number of employers is limited, so is the number of senior positions therefore opportunity for advancement is limited also. Radiation Therapists get satisfaction from contributing to the team.
  • Physical Requirements: Standing and walking as well as lifting and moving patients and equipment is an integral part of the position. Radiation Therapists find that the physical stamina can be demanding. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle allows this to be very manageable.

To find out more about this profession, and the Radiation Therapy program, please contact the School of Radiation Therapy at CancerCare Manitoba. Phone: 204-789-0909.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Your Job as a MRI Technologist is to acquire quality diagnostic images and provide excellent patient care for patients undergoing this type of exam.

You are responsible to:

  1. Prepare patients by providing them with a clear explanation of the procedure including any anticipated reactions.
  2. Screen patients for contraindications to the magnetic field or injection of imaging contrast.
  3. Initiate intravenous (IV) access when necessary.
  4. Evaluate options for use of the most appropriate imaging equipment and position patients for MRI exams.
  5. Operate the MR scanner to acquire a variety of imaging results in almost every body region.
  6. Carry out quality control checks on equipment, reporting any deficiencies to the proper personnel for action.
  7. Provide patient care with dignity and respect for the individual.
  8. Monitor patients' reaction to treatment and changes in physical or mental status, reporting change to the appropriate person.
  9. Keep familiar with technological changes and maintain safety for self, patients and visitors.
  10. Assist in teaching and evaluating students.
  11. Participate in a variety of shifts including evenings, weekend and call.

You will be employed by hospitals and clinics in Manitoba (Winnipeg, Brandon and Boundary Trails) and across Canada. Other opportunities include education, management, commercial sales and research.

Your education includes:

  • 2nd Discipline: Red River College and various other institutions in Canada offer a diploma program that requires previous graduation with a diploma in Medical Radiologic Technology, Nuclear Medicine, or Radiation Therapy from a recognized institute or college.
  • 1st Discipline: The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology offers a diploma program for high school graduates.

Following either of these approaches, graduates are eligible to write the Canadian Association of Medical Radiological Technologists (CAMRT) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examinations.

You earn: $45,000 to $80,000+ per year

The profession offers the following rewards:

  • Problem Solving: Magnetic Resonance Imaging technologists are instrumental in obtaining quality diagnostic images on people with many different types of pathologies. Since people are different shapes and sizes with various limitations and status of disease, the imaging approach must be customized. This often involves overcoming obstacles. Top performers enjoy adapting and using their technological problem solving skills to overcome challenges.
  • Helping People: The primary focus of this position is to prepare and scan patients. MRI technologists take pride in the fact that their efforts can have a significant impact on the lives of their patients.
  • Variety: This profession requires one to work with other health care professionals and patients as well as use a knowledge base to perform their duties. This allows one to utilize both interpersonal skills and their technical aptitude. Different areas within the diagnostic imaging profession depend on different skills.
  • Continuous Improvement: Successful MRI technologists are encouraged to improve their personal performance. The opportunity exists to get involved in special projects, attend conferences or seminars and to take on leadership roles.
  • Team Work: MRI technologists utilize their communication and interpersonal skills to work together as a team to provide the best possible care and treatment to the patient.

This profession has the following challenges:

  • Stress: MRI technologists often work under stressful conditions due to meeting deadlines, high workload due to high number of patients requiring treatment and the emotional stress of dealing with patients who are very ill. Successful MRI technologists find that communicating effectively with co-workers, family and friends and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be helpful.
  • Variety: Successful MRI technologists enjoy the variety that is inherent when dealing with different people, thus helping to avoid the monotony, which can sometimes occur due to the repetitive nature of the technical work.
  • Opportunity for Advancement: This profession is fairly specialized which limits opportunity for employment to major centers that have a MRI scanner. The number of MRI scanners has increased considerably in the last 10 years and the demand for technologists exists in many regions in Canada. MRI technologists get satisfaction from contributing to the team.
  • Physical Requirements: Standing and walking as well as lifting and moving patients and equipment is an integral part of the position. MRI technologists find that the physical stamina can be demanding. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle allows this to be very manageable.

To find out more about this profession, please contact Red River College. Phone: 204-632-2463.

Nuclear Medicine

Your Job as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist is to prepare radiopharmaceuticals, perform camera quality control, administer patient doses, and perform diagnostic imaging.

You are responsible to:

  1. Prepare radiopharmaceuticals
  2. Perform quality control on radiopharmaceuticals
  3. Perform quality control on cameras
  4. Explain the procedure to the patients
  5. Administer diagnostic and therapeutic doses
  6. Position the patient for images
  7. Set up the camera and related equipment
  8. Acquire patient images
  9. Assess the image and procedure quality
  10. Process images used specialized computer software
  11. Provide patient care
  12. Maintain a safe environment for you and your patient
  13. Assist in training students.

You will be employed in a hospital or private clinic. There are many Nuclear Medicine facilities across Canada. In Manitoba, there is one hospital in Brandon, and 5 hospital and 2 private clinics in Winnipeg.

Your education includes: Nuclear Medicine is a two year program. Currently Manitoba students do one year of study in Calgary at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology followed by a one year practicum in Winnipeg hospitals.

For official entry requirements visit www.sait.ab.ca Students may enter directly with a high school diploma with at least 60% in the following:

  1. English Language Arts 30-1 (equivalent to ELA 40S 2 credits)
  2. Pure Math 30 or Math 31 (equivalent to Calculus 45A or Adv Math 45A)
  3. Chemistry 30 (equivalent to Chemistry 40S)
  4. Biology 30 or Physics 30 (equivalent to Biology 40S or Physics 40S)
  5. One of the following:
    • Math 31 (equivalent to Calculus 45A or Adv Math 45A)
    • Language 30
    • Physics 30 (equivalent to Physics 40S)
    • Biology 30 (equivalent to Biology 40S)
    • Science 30
    • Science 30 (equivalent to Western Civilization 40S or World Issues 40S or History 40S)

Following successful completion of study, students will be eligible to write the CAMRT Nuclear Medicine Certification Exam.

You earn: $58,500 to $80,000+ per year (based on Apr 08 rates)

It is recommended that those wishing to pursue a career in Nuclear Medicine in Manitoba obtain the CT Imaging Specialty Certificate offered by the CAMRT. Referring to the CAMRT Continuing Education Course Catalogue, the certificate involves the completion of CT Imaging Series courses: CT Imaging 1, 2 and 3 and a Clinical Component specific to Nuclear Medicine. Please refer to the CAMRT website for further information.

The profession offers the following rewards:

  • Helping People: A career in health care provides the opportunity to help many people. Nuclear Medicine plays an important role in finding a diagnosis and treating a few pathologies.
  • Variety: This profession requires one to work with other health care professionals and patients as well as use a knowledge base to perform their duties. This allows one to utilize both interpersonal skills and their technical aptitude. Different areas within Nuclear Medicine depend on different skills.
  • Continuous Improvement: Nuclear Medicine Technologists are supported to improve their skills and knowledge. The opportunity exists to get involved in special projects, attend conferences or seminars and take additional courses.
  • Advancing Technology: The field of Nuclear Medicine has seen many recent advancements including PET/CT and SPECT/CT. The technology will continue to advance. This provides the opportunity for Technologists to continue learning and to have change in daily responsibilities.
  • Team Work: Nuclear Medicine Technologists utilize their communication and interpersonal skills to work together as a team to provide the best possible care and treatment to the patient.

This profession has the following challenges:

  • Stress: As with any profession, Nuclear Medicine Technologists may occasionally work under stressful conditions. Technologists strive to keep on schedule to prevent the next patient from waiting. In a hospital setting, Technologists occasionally work with patients that are unwell or have a poor prognosis. Successful Nuclear Medicine Technologists find that communicating effectively with co-workers, family and friends and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be helpful.
  • Variety: Most Nuclear Medicine Departments have a broad range of procedures. Typically a technologist will rotate through different rotations. For example, one week a technologist may focus on dispensing doses, the next week they may focus on cardiac imaging or bone imaging or work on a camera with a wide variety of imaging procedures. Some departments also include Bone Density or PET (Positron Emission Tomography). A large portion of the patients are cardiology or oncology patients. There are a wide variety of patients that includes adults, children, out patients, and inpatients.
  • Opportunity for Advancement: Nuclear Medicine facilities are located across Canada but the number of sites is based on the population. Typically most departments have many General Duty Technologists and a fewer number of higher positions such as Senior Technologist, Radiation Safety Officer, Charge Technologist, Chief Technologist, Clinical Instructor, and Manager. After gaining sufficient work experience, Nuclear Medicine Technologists may gain employment outside of Nuclear Medicine Departments. A few examples include Post Secondary Institutes, Radiation Safety Offices, or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
  • Physical Requirements: Standing and walking as well as lifting and moving patients and equipment is an integral part of the position. Nuclear Medicine Technologists find that the physical stamina can be demanding. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle allows this to be very manageable.

To find out more about this profession, and the Nuclear Medicine Technology program, please contact:

Clinical Instructor
Department of Nuclear Medicine
Health Sciences Centre
Winnipeg, Manitoba
204 787 3848

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