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Medical Radiation Technologist

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time


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Overview

As a member of the military, Medical Radiation Technologists provide diagnostic imaging services for health care professionals, which are used to diagnose and treat medical and surgical conditions.

The primary responsibilities of the Medical Radiation Technologist are to:

  • Provide patient care
  • Produce diagnostic examinations
  • Assist radiologists, medical specialists and medical officers
  • Maintain equipment, accessories and supplies
  • Maintain a Quality Assurance Program

Work environment

Medical Radiation Technologists work in modern and fully equipped clinics across Canada. They can also be deployed on missions around the world or on ships at sea.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview

Transcript

TITLE:

MEDICAL RADIATION TECHNOLOGIST

CORPORAL MICHELLE FERDERBAR: I’m Corporal Michelle Ferderbar from Windsor, Ontario, a Medical Radiation Technologist posted to CFB Petawawa.

Being a Medical Radiation Technologist, or M Rad Tech, in the Canadian Armed Forces is an incredibly challenging combination of technology, travel, and deployment.

As part of the Canadian Armed Forces Health Services team, Medical Radiation Technologists work in modern diagnostic imaging facilities; in X-ray suites aboard Royal Canadian Navy ships; and in field hospitals on deployments and humanitarian missions around the world.

CORPORAL MICHELLE FERDERBAR: A Medical Radiation Technologist in the Canadian Armed Forces does a variety of things including X-rays, ultrasounds, and computed tomography, depending on where you’re posted to. So here I am typically in charge of entering an examination when a patient comes, explaining what’s going to be happening, and then performing the X-ray, as well as doing the paperwork afterwards.

Wherever they go, M Rad Techs serve Canada’s soldiers, sailors and Air Force personnel with state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging equipment.

They must also participate in maintenance of clinical readiness skills programs.

CORPORAL MICHELLE FERDERBAR: A big piece that we don’t do here in the Canadian Armed Forces clinics is the operating room where you get to use fluoroscopy and since we don’t have that capability here, we go to civilian hospitals and get to practise that, and maintain our skill.

In the Forces – and especially in field trauma settings – M Rad Techs are interacting one-on-one with clinicians and specialists, and are a critical part of the Health Services team.

CORPORAL MICHELLE FERDERBAR: While we are working in the clinic, we work very regular hours, Monday to Friday. However, on deployment and on operations, that’s a very different story. You are on call and ready to assist whenever something might happen. So trauma happens – you’re it. And that is quite the adrenaline rush.

CORPORAL MICHELLE FERDERBAR: I wrote a paper on diagnostic reference levels in computed tomography and this paper was published in the Canadian Association of Radiologists Journal. And a few months ago, I couldn’t believe it – I had my first citation, which means that my investigation was relevant enough that someone said “Wow! We’re going to use it as the basis of what we’re going to do here at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.”

Once they complete their military and occupational training, M Rad Techs get posted to a Canadian Armed Forces Health Services clinic.

During their military careers, M Rad Techs will have the opportunity to take courses in advanced specialties, including computerized tomography and, if selected, diagnostic medical ultrasound.

CORPORAL MICHELLE FERDERBAR: When you join the Canadian Armed Forces, there’s so much continuing education opportunities, especially within the medical radiation sciences. So if you have an interest in learning computed tomography theory and physics, there’s courses that we have approved funding for, and we can take those.

If a part-time job is all you’re looking for, there are also opportunities to serve as a Medical Radiation Technologist with the Health Services Reserves.

CORPORAL MICHELLE FERDERBAR: The technology that’s associated with X-rays, l love how X-rays work, the physics behind it is incredible. I love that there’s so much that we can still learn, and every day I take an X-ray, I mean, how many chest X-rays have I taken in my career, but there’s still so many things to learn about it. I’ve done so much more than what a typical M Rad Tech does in a civilian facility. I would recommend this job to anyone.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Medical Radiation Technologist
  • Diagnostic Ultrasound Technologist

Training

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Medical Radiation Technologists are posted to a medical unit in Canada to complete a one-year preceptor program under the supervision of senior staff. This training provides the core knowledge required to practice as a Medical Radiation Technologist in a military setting.

Medical Radiation Technologists may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound; and
  • Computerized Tomography.

As they progress in their career, Medical Radiation Technologists who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training.

Entry plans

If you already have a college diploma or baccalaureate degree in an accredited Medical Radiological Technology program and Certification by a professional association having reciprocal arrangements with the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT), current unrestricted registration, license, or certification (active status) by a recognized provincial/territorial regulatory authority to practice as a Medical Radiological Technologist and a letter of good standing from an approved professional regulatory authority, the CAF may place you directly into a designated on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military occupation training are required before being assigned.

Non-Commissioned Member Subsidized Entry Training Plan (NCM-STEP)

Because this position requires specialty training, the CAF will pay successful recruits to attend the diploma program at an approved Canadian college. NCM STEP students attend basic training and on-the-job training during the summer months. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full pay in exchange for working with the CAF for a period of time. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the CAF and the appropriate college.

For further information, please contact a Canadian Forces Health Services Recruiter: HSRecruiting-RecrutementSS@forces.gc.ca 

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.