Becoming a radiographer usually means graduating from an associate’s degree program and passing a certification exam. Most radiographers (also called x-ray technicians) need to complete continuing education courses to renew certification every two years. Many choose to continue their training on other equipment so they can perform increasingly complex procedures. Here are five different diagnostic tests that x-ray technicians can learn how to do to advance in their careers.

1. Fluoroscopy
Fluoroscopy is an imaging procedure that uses a constant x-ray beam to make a real-time picture of a patient’s insides. Generally, the patient will be given an IV or catheter with a contrasting solution, and then the radiographer will use the fluoroscope to project the image onto a monitor. This diagnostic test can be used to study movement and processes in internal organs, muscles, and even joints.

2. Computed Tomography (CT)
Some x-ray technicians specialize in computed tomography, which is also referred to as CT or CT scanning. This is a complex, three-dimensional picture of a person’s entire body which gets made by taking lots of cross-section x-rays. Instead of using a traditional x-ray machine that stays in one place until the x-ray technician moves it, CT scans are made with an x-ray machine that moves around the body and responds to computer commands. CT scans are helpful in finding things like tumors and blood clots inside the body that a two-dimensional x-ray can’t see.

3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
This is an additional specialization an x-ray technician can have. An MRI scan is another way to get a three-dimensional look inside a patient’s body, but an MRI machine uses radio waves and a magnetic field to create an image. Besides looking at bones, an MRI is a great way for a doctor to examine organs and tissues for tumors and disease without cutting a patient open. It’s also the best way to get a complete picture a patient’s brain and spinal cord.

4. Mammography
A mammogram is an x-ray of a patient’s breasts that gets printed as a black and white picture. Doctors use these images to check for irregularities that might indicate cancer. Regular mammograms are recommended for women who might be at risk for breast cancer, including those over the age of 40.

5. Angiography
Angiography is sometimes also called ateriography, and it refers to the process of x-raying a patient’s arteries. Like with fluoroscopy, the x-ray technician will insert a contrast fluid into the part of the patient’s body to be examined with a catheter so the arteries will show up in the x-ray. Coronary angiograms can also be done to look at the heart itself, and it is even possible to use angiography to look at blood vessels in the brain.

If these sound like interesting procedures, find out more about how you can become a certified x-ray technician. Check out the X-Ray Technician Schools directory today!