Limited medical radiologic technologists with medical assisting skills are invaluable in healthcare settings. They're able to provide some of the front- and back-of-house duties, like a medical assistant would, while performing limited scope X-rays on patients. For this reason, they serve in an expanded role in the healthcare settings in which they work.

The College of Health Care Professions provides a program designed to help prepare  you to become a limited medical radiologic technologist (LMRT) with medical assisting skills in just over a year. 

What Is a Radiology Technologist? 

Radiology technologists help physicians and advanced practice providers by taking pictures of structures inside the patient's body using an X-ray machine. Radiologic technologists perform both basic and complex examinations, while limited scope X-ray technologists perform only basic X-ray exams. While radiology technologists must have an associate or bachelor's degree, limited scope X-ray technologists can usually complete their certificate program in a little over a year.

For this reason, many students start their career as a limited-scope technologist so they can begin earning earlier in their career and build experience in the field, even if they plan to go on to earn an associate degree or higher. Alternatively, many students who don't have an interest in spending the time and money on an advanced education choose to stop after completing the LMRT program. This choice can lead to a career that allows them to make a difference in the lives of patients and challenge themselves every day.

Radiologic technologists work in clinics, hospitals, and outpatient centers. They may work days, evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays, and in some cases, may cover call as well. Because LMRTs position patients, they need to be able to stand, bend, reach, and lift up to 50 pounds.

What Does a Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist Do?

Limited medical radiologic technologists perform limited-scope or basic X-rays, allowing physicians and other healthcare professionals to see structures inside a patient's body, so they can diagnose and treat various conditions. Limited scope technologists can perform basic X-rays on the extremities, chest, vertebral column, skull, and facial bones. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Adjusting, testing, and maintaining imaging equipment and reporting any problems
  • Following physician orders for diagnostic examinations
  • Taking a medical history from patients to ensure X-ray examination is safe
  • Preventing unnecessary exposure for patients, bystanders, and self
  • Positioning the patient according to best practice to ensure the image is of the correct area and angle
  • Operating imaging equipment to take pictures
  • Instructing the patient throughout the procedure, especially for images that require the patient to take a deep breath and hold it, hold very still, etc.
  • Reviewing the images for quality and repositioning and retaking if necessary
  • Sending the images to the radiologist, reading company, or physician who ordered them
  • Educating patients on what to expect after their exam, how to get back to the clinic, etc.
  • Disinfecting exam rooms and setting them up for the next patient
  • Keeping detailed records of exams performed, patient medical history, and more

LMRTs with medical assisting skills may have additional responsibilities to assist with some basic clinic operations. They might escort patients, take vital signs, document medical history, schedule appointments, collect and prepare specimens, and assist with billing and insurance procedures.

Patients who are coming for an X-ray will often express anxiety about their situation. They might worry that something serious is wrong or that the appointment or tests will be expensive. They might be in severe pain or in distress after an accident or scary situation. For this reason, LMRTs must enjoy interacting with, reassuring, and comforting patients, even in stressful and highly emotional situations.

Finally, LMRTs generally can't provide their impression of the results of the X-ray. Patients will often ask questions during the exam like, “Is it broken?” or “Do you see anything?” LMRTs should be comfortable redirecting those questions to the doctor who ordered the test and addressing any patient frustration that arises as a result.

About the LMRT Program at CHCP

The College of Health Care Professions offers a Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist with Medical Assisting Skills Certificate Program. In order to enroll in the program, you must have your high school diploma or GED, be able to read and write in English, and pass the Scholastic Level Exam with a score of 19 or higher. This blended program lasts 58 weeks.

Some of the courses you can expect to take throughout the course of your LMRT Certificate Program at CHCP include:

  • Radiographic Math and Calculations
  • Digital Imaging
  • Biological Effects of Radiation
  • Imaging Equipment
  • Medical Assisting Skills
  • Customer Service and Professionalism Skills

You'll also take Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, and Medical Terminology, along with a Positioning and Image Analysis lab in each the following areas:

  • Chest, Bony Thorax, and Abdomen
  • Upper Extremities and Shoulder Girdle
  • Lower Extremities/Pelvis
  • Vertebral Column
  • Skull and Facial Bones

Finally, you'll finish your program with a certification preparation course, which is included in the cost of your tuition and is designed to help you prepare to take your state limited scope certification exam. You will also participate in an externship where you'll get hands-on experience and prepare to enter the workforce as an LMRT with MA skills.

Upon completion of the program, you will be expected to have a strong understanding of human anatomy. You should be proficient in positioning patients for X-rays, limiting exposure to radiation, and operating radiography equipment. During the program, you’ll receive instruction  in professional communication with other members of an interdisciplinary team, including physicians and radiologists. You should also be comfortable with administrative office duties and obtaining and recording patient history—both important medical assisting skills.

Career Options After Graduation

After passing the state licensing exam, you can begin to pursue work as an LMRT in a diagnostic imaging center, private physician's office, medical clinic, chiropractic clinic, urgent care facility, or other healthcare organization. You'll play an important role in each patient encounter by explaining the exam, connecting with each unique patient, and providing data that supports the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders. In some settings, you'll also be able to help with tasks typically completed by medical assistants.

If you enjoy assisting and caring for others in a patient care role, operating instruments, collaborating with others, and analyzing data or information, a career as a Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist with MA Skills may be a good fit for you. Getting started is as simple as submitting your application online for the LMRT Certificate Program at The College of Health Care Professions today. In a little over a year, you could be performing X-rays and helping patients get the diagnoses and treatments they need to get better.