What does a Radiology Supervisor do?

D. Jeffress

A radiology supervisor oversees technicians and technologists at a hospital or diagnostic imaging center. He or she makes sure imaging equipment is kept in proper working order and that employees perform their jobs correctly. Many supervisors perform patient examinations as well, especially when testing procedures involve using sophisticated equipment. They also review test results before passing them along to radiologists to make sure they are clear and accurate. It usually takes several years of technician experience and continuing education to advance to a radiology supervisor position.

A radiology supervisor looking at an X-ray.
A radiology supervisor looking at an X-ray.

While radiology technicians perform most of the patient services and hands-on tests in an imaging center, their supervisors are responsible for inspecting equipment and delegating tasks in the workplace. A professional makes sure machines are clean, functional, and up-to-date, and submits orders for maintenance or new equipment when necessary. He or she is often responsible for scheduling, day planning, and administrative paperwork as well. A radiology supervisor may provide training to new technicians and periodic refreshers for existing employees to make sure they are fully prepared for their jobs.

After technicians complete examinations, the results typically are given to the radiology supervisor. He or she carefully analyzes scans and checks for technical problems. Images may come back blurry or miss part of an organ or bone that needed to be scanned. If a problem is found, the supervisor can arrange for re-testing. He or she can go over quality results with a radiologist and provide an opinion about what the findings might mean.

Many radiology supervisors have specialized knowledge of advanced, complex tests that technicians are unable to perform. A supervisor might, for example, be placed in charge of conducting a nuclear medicine exam that involves the use of radioactive materials. He or she is trained in the proper administration of potentially harmful substances and the safe use of specialized x-rays and tomography machines. Some supervisors also act as assistants to licensed radiologists during interventional surgeries.

The requirements to become a radiology supervisor can vary, but most professionals hold at least bachelor's degrees in radiography. Some workers, however, are able to enter the field after earning associate's degrees or certificates from two-year schools. Most areas require new technicians to pass licensing exams before they can start working independently. Depending on the setting, it may be possible to become a supervisor in as few as two years by taking continuing education courses and applying for certification with national accrediting boards.

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