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Medical Imaging Technologist

Alternative titles for this job

Medical imaging technologists use x-ray and other imaging equipment to take images of injuries and diseases. 

Pay

Medical imaging technologists with one to six years’ experience usually earn

$57K-$80K per year

Medical imaging technologists with more than six years’ experience usually earn

$80K-$110K per year

Source: APEX and DHBs, 2021.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a medical imaging technologist are good due to a shortage of workers and increasing demand for their services.

Pay

Medical imaging technologists pay

Pay for medical imaging technologists varies depending on experience.

  • Medical imaging technologists with one to six years' experience usually earn between $57,000 and $80,000 a year.
  • Medical imaging technologists with more than six years' experience can earn between $80,000 and $110,000.

Magnetic resonance imaging technologists and nuclear medicine technologists pay

Pay for magnetic resonance imaging technologists and nuclear medicine technologists varies depending on experience.

  • Trainee magnetic resonance imaging technologists and trainee nuclear medicine technologists usually earn between $67,000 and $73,000 a year.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging technologists and nuclear medicine technologists with one to six years' experience usually earn between $85,000 and $100,000.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging technologists and nuclear medicine technologists with more than six years' experience can earn between $103,000 and $112,000.

Source: APEX and District Health Boards, 'Medical Imaging Technologists Collective Agreement 1 November 2019 - 31 August 2022', 2021.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Medical imaging technologists may do some or all of the following:

  • provide information to patients about what will happen during their examinations
  • prepare patients and equipment for examinations
  • produce diagnostic images for diagnosis of injuries or possible diseases
  • prepare and administer radioactive materials (tracers) or x-ray dye to patients
  • check the quality of images taken
  • write reports
  • perform quality assurance testing on equipment.

Skills and knowledge

Medical imaging technologists need to have knowledge of:

  • human anatomy, physiology and pathology
  • positioning and imaging techniques, and how to use x-ray equipment
  • safety issues for the use of radiation equipment and radioactive materials.

Working conditions

Medical imaging technologists:

  • usually do shift work, which may include weekends and evenings
  • may be on call, particularly in public hospitals
  • work in hospitals, medical laboratories, private practices, and clinics.

Entry requirements

To become a medical imaging technologist you need to have one of the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Medical Imaging
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Imaging Technology)
  • Bachelor of Health Science (Medical Imaging).

You also need to be registered with the New Zealand Medical Radiation Technologists Board and hold an Annual Practising Certificate.

You may need to pass health and police checks, and attend an interview and an observation day to get into these courses.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Secondary education

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, English, health education, maths and physics.

Additional requirements for specialist roles:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist

To become a Magnetic Resonance Imaging technologist you must complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) at the University of Auckland.

Mammography specialist

To become a mammography specialist you must complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences (Mammography) from the University of Auckland. 

Nuclear medicine technologist

To become a nuclear medicine technologist you must complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences in Medical Imaging (Nuclear Medicine Pathway) at the University of Auckland.

Sonographer

To become a sonographer you must complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (Ultrasound) at the University of Auckland.

Personal requirements

Medical imaging technologists need to be:

  • mature, responsible and patient
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • able to work well under pressure
  • able to work independently and as part of a team
  • able to follow instructions
  • excellent communicators so they can relate well to patients and other staff
  • good decision-makers
  • competent with technology.

Medical imaging technologists must not be squeamish, as they may have to deal with people who have severe injuries.

Useful experience

Useful experience for medical imaging technologists includes:

  • any work in the health sector
  • photography
  • technical work
  • laboratory work
  • any jobs involving contact with people.

Physical requirements

Medical imaging technologists need to be reasonably strong so they can move patients. They also need good hand-eye co-ordination for laboratory work and injections.

Registration

Medical imaging technologists need to be registered with the New Zealand Medical Radiation Technologists Board and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.

Find out more about training

New Zealand Institute of Medical Radiation Technology (NZIMRT)
(06) 752 7040 - nzimrt@nzimrt.co.nz - www.nzimrt.co.nz
New Zealand Medical Radiation Technologists Board (MRTB)
(04) 801 6250 - mrt@medsci.co.nz - www.mrtboard.org.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Strong demand for medical imaging technologists

Chances of getting a job as a medical imaging technologist are good because:

  • an ageing population increases demand for more health checks and scans for age-related diseases
  • a relatively low number of people train to do this job.

Sonographer, a type of medical imaging technologist, appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled medical imaging technologists from overseas to work in New Zealand.

According to the Census, 1,797 medical imaging technologists and sonographers worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Types of employers varied

Most medical imaging technologists are employed in:

  • hospitals and nursing homes 
  • medical and dental services 
  • health clinics.

Sources

  • Allen, K, registration coordinator, Medical Sciences Secretariat Limited for Medical Radiation Technologists Board and Medical Sciences Council, careers.govt.nz interview, February 2021.
  • APEX and District Health Boards, ‘Medical Imaging Technologists Collective Agreement 1 November - 31 August 2022', accessed 2021, (www.hawkesbay.health.nz).
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Long Term Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
  • New Zealand Institute of Medical Technology website, accessed January 2021, (www.nzmrit.co.nz).
  • New Zealand Medical Radiation Technologists Board website, accessed January 2021, (www.mrtboard.org.nz).
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Medical imaging technologists can progress into managerial roles. With further training, they may become academics. They may also move between areas of radiography if they are registered and hold a current Annual Practising Certificate covering that area.

Medical imaging technologists can specialise in a number of roles, including:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imagers use MRI scanners, radio frequency waves, and magnetic fields to diagnose injuries and possible diseases.
Mammography Specialist
Mammography specialists use mammography scanners to take images of the breasts.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Nuclear medicine technologists use radioactive materials (tracers) and gamma cameras to diagnose and occasionally treat diseases.
Sonographer
Sonographers use ultrasound scanners and sound waves to take images of internal parts of the body.
A female medical imaging technologist standing next to a patient on a scanning machine

Medical imaging technologists prepare patients for scans

Last updated 26 March 2021