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Who are the Professionals that Perform Diagnostic Imaging?


Doctors who are specialized in diagnostic imaging are called radiologists. These physicians have completed four or more years of additional advanced training beyond their medical doctor (M.D.) degree. Radiologists study a comprehensive curriculum which in addition to medicine, physiology and anatomy, includes physics, chemistry and detailed courses and practical work involving radiation. Most radiologists are certified by the American Board of Radiology after passing written and oral examinations.

Initially, diagnostic imaging involved only x-ray imaging and the departments were called x-ray or radiology departments. Radiology essentially means "the study of using radiation in medicine." X-rays are high energy rays that involve ionizing radiation. Radiation is present in every setting and basic sources include sunlight, the earth's gravity and radio waves. However, the high energy and special wavelength of x-rays used in diagnostic radiology require special training and extra consideration. All certified radiologists and technologists have received this training and are re-accredited on a regular basis.

Other Specialized Physicians:

Many other physicians also perform diagnostic imaging in specialized clinics and offices. Included in this group are obstetricians, cardiologists, vascular surgeons, urologists, orthopedists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, gastroenterologists, and others.


Diagnostic imaging technologists are healthcare professionals that operate the imaging equipment and take care of you during the procedure. These highly trained individuals have undergone a 2 to 4 year specialized, curriculum. Their professional education is then completed at a participating medical center, hospital or clinic. Most radiologic or diagnostic imaging technologists are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists or other registry.

Other professionals involved in diagnostic imaging include:

  • the receptionist who receives you when you first enter an imaging center or department
  • specialized nurses who help administer the pharmaceutical agents and sedatives if needed
  • administrative staff who look after the management, record keeping and logistics of an imaging center or department

Updated: September 13, 2007