Radiologist vs Radiographer – What is the Difference?

Imaging methods like ultrasound, X-ray, CT scans and MRI view boy organs using imaging machines. Through these findings, a diagnosis can be made. These diagnostic methods will tell your doctor whether you have cancer, fractures, blood clots, and other health conditions. When you are sent to the radiology department such as the Gold Coast radiology clinic you are likely to hear words like radiologist and radiographer. You know that these are professionals working in the radiology department but what are the differences between these two?

Job Duties

Radiographers are the people who will carry out the imaging procedure on you. They are the people who will operate the machines and perform the scan on you. They will administer the radiation material required for radiotherapy and perform specific radiography procedures as is needed. The radiographer is the person who will meet you when you first walk into the radiology clinic and explain the procedure to you. They will also help you get changed if the procedure calls for this. They will then carry out procedures like x-ray, CT scan, and fluoroscopy. They will also be the ones in charge of maintaining the machines in optimal conditions. They will check that the machines are working properly and giving the best image quality. They will establish any issues and take corrective action.

Radiologists are medical doctors who specialize in radiology. These doctors will not perform the scanning procedure but they will look at the images and provide a comprehensive report. These results give the diagnosis of the patient. Radiologists work closely with the primary physicians of their patients to enable proper diagnosis and treatment. Radiologists also apply radiotherapy as a treatment method. They also carry out procedures like ultrasound or CT-guided biopsies and fine needle aspirations (FNACs). These are methods used to collect specimens that is taken to the lab and reported by a pathologist (a specialized medical doctor concerned with lab diagnosis).


In order to become a radiologist, one has to go to an accredited Medicine school and obtain a degree in Medicine. Thereafter, he or she needs to complete a residency that lasts for four years. During this time, they are trained on radiological procedures and interpretation of scans among other relevant training. Only after completing the residency, is a doctor considered a radiologist. As a radiologist, one can specialize in breast imaging, thoracic imaging, neuroradiology, or genitourinary radiology among other subspecialties.

Radiographers do not need to undergo training as thorough as that of radiologists. Radiographers need to undertake a degree course in sonography or radiology which may take about 4 years. After this, they can apply for licensure and start practicing.

Similarities among Radiologists and Radiographers

Though they are different, radiographers and radiologists have some similarities. They are both the main people you will find at a radiology clinic. They need to maintain a close working relationship in their day-to-day activities. Radiographers need to provide high-quality images that radiologists can interpret and give a report on.

Both radiologists and radiographers need to be licensed by their governing bodies. Radiologists must be registered and licensed as medical doctors. On the other hand, radiographers need to be licensed by the governing body.

The skills required by both radiologists and radiographers in their careers are very similar. They both need interpersonal skills, great communication skills, critical thinking, and medical knowledge.

Bottom Line

Radiologists and radiographers are important professions that the radiology clinic would be incomplete without. They work hand in hand to give the best scans and reports so the patient can leave with a comprehensive report that will help towards helping them get better. The main difference in qualifications is the time period it takes to get into each career. While radiographers can join the workforce sooner, radiologists need to be in school for much longer. As for the duties, they are distinct but both cadres are dependent on each other.

There you have it – everything about radiographers and radiologists explained. Whether you are just a curious patient or a student who wants to get into this field, you will be happy to know that this field is exciting and fulfilling. No matter what path you choose a career in radiology will be fulfilling as you help in the diagnosis of patients.