What to expect from a career in Imaging, Ultrasound and Radiation Technology
Ultrasound and x-ray professionals play an important role in the medical industry, assisting in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases by producing and interpreting diagnostic images. Ontario college ultrasound and x-ray programs offer training in a wide range of imaging focus areas to prepare students for careers as sonographers or radiation technologists or to build on their current imaging training.
If you’re interested in starting a career using x-rays or ultrasounds, or you want to upgrade your current industry skills, here’s what you need to know.
Ultrasound and X-Ray Courses
Ultrasound and x-ray programs have distinct streams of study, with most programs specializing in only one focus area. Below is a description of what you can expect from each discipline:
- Ultrasound and Sonography. Ultrasound programs explore the use of high-frequency sound waves to create images, which are used to monitor pregnancies and uncover abnormalities within the body. Through lab and class work, students will learn to operate ultrasound and sonographic equipment and interpret results.
- Medical Radiation Technology. Radiation technology programs focus on specialized techniques and body positioning to produce clear x-ray images that will help lead to a diagnosis. Course topics include radiological protocols, patient care and management, imaging processing, x-ray equipment operation and quality control.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI programs build on the skills taught in medical radiation programs, preparing students to operate magnetic resonance imaging equipment (an advanced form of imaging technology).
In all ultrasound and x-ray programs at Ontario colleges, students are taught through a combination of theoretical lectures, lab time and clinical placements.
General Ultrasound and X-Ray Program Requirements
Ultrasound and radiation (x-ray) program requirements vary depending on the program level and institution. For entry-level programs, an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent is required, which includes a grade 12 English credit and often multiple senior math, physics and science credits.
Some Ontario college ultrasound and x-ray programs are offered as graduate certificate programs, in which case a degree or diploma in a related health science field is required.
Ultrasound and X-Ray Jobs and Salaries
Professional examinations are a necessity for working in both ultrasound and x-ray jobs. Those who want to work in ultrasound and sonography must take exams through Sonography Canada or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.
In contrast, to work as a Medical Radiation Technologist (MRT), graduates must register with the College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario upon completion of the MRT exam.
Graduates who gain accreditation will find employment in a variety of medical facilities and departments, including (but not limited to):
- Emergency and operating rooms
- Private medical practices
- Education and research institutions
- Specialized treatment centres
The average starting salary for x-ray and ultrasound jobs is between $47,000 and $54,000 per year, with the potential to be much higher as your level of expertise grows.
Ontario Colleges Offering Ultrasound and X-Ray Programs
Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of ultrasound and x-ray programs at Ontario colleges.