Become a Medical Radiation Technologist



What is a Medical Radiation Technologist?

Canada’s medical radiation technologists (MRTs) are caring professionals, high-tech specialists, and essential members of the healthcare team. Medical radiation technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations and administer radiation therapy treatments. If you have ever had an x-ray, scan, MRI, nuclear medicine procedure or radiation therapy, you have been in contact with an MRT.

They can be found in emergency departments, operating rooms, mobile breast screening vans as well as diagnostic imaging departments and clinics. MRTs, provide service to both the public and private sectors within the Canadian healthcare system. Their key role is in diagnosis and treatment, and serve as advisors to radiologists, radiation oncologists and other healthcare providers. Because they deal with patients on the front lines, they also serve as patient advocates and educators. Some of them are also healthcare researchers, technical and therapy specialists, and interdisciplinary consultants.

MRTs work in dynamic and ever changing environments with cutting edge technology. The marriage between using that technology and providing care to patients is what makes the profession unique. MRTs are an integral part of care providing teams and forage meaningful relationships with their patients during the time they are with them.


The Four Disciplines of Medical Radiation Technology

Radiologic Technology

A radiologic technologist produces images of a body part or system using equipment that emits x-rays. The radiologist — a doctor who specializes in interpreting x-rays — studies the images and dispenses advice that helps the treating physician make a diagnosis and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment for the patient. Technologists are responsible for the quality of the x-ray images and for providing the correct view of specific body structures or systems

The radiological technologist discipline encompasses a broad variety of procedures and covers a number of specialties, including:

  • General Radiology, i.e., x-rays of the chest, bones, joints, spine
  • Mammography to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages
  • Angiography to examine the heart, blood vessels and blood flow
  • Fluoroscopy: Real-time images that show how the systems in the body function, for example, the gastrointestinal       or urinary systems of a patient
  • Computerized tomography (CT scans), i.e., detailed cross-sectional images of the body

Nuclear Medicine

A nuclear medicine technologist carries out diagnostic imaging and some treatment procedures in hospitals or private medical clinics. They obtain the images that help pinpoint the nature of a disease and how it is affecting the body. Their work also enables doctors to monitor a patient’s response to treatment. Nuclear medicine involves the use of radiopharmaceuticals to evaluate the function of specific organs in the treatment and management of disease.

Some of the main uses of nuclear medicine are to:

  • Evaluate coronary disease
  • Study how the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs are functioning
  • Determine the location of tumours
  • Monitor the progression of cancer and the results of cancer treatments
  • Diagnose hormonal disorders

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

A magnetic resonance technologist produces diagnostic images using equipment that generates radio waves and a strong magnetic field. Extensive knowledge of physics, anatomy, pathology and physiology allows MRI technologists to obtain images, monitor and care for patients during scans.

Some uses of MRI are:

  • Detect subtle abnormalities within the brain and spinal column
  • Examine tissue of the joints muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • Provide detailed studies of major organs including the breasts, liver, spleen, kidneys, the urinary system and the          male and female sexual organs
  • View the workings of the heart and vascular system
  • Study body chemistry and functions

Radiation Therapy

A radiation therapist is a key member of the cancer treatment team. More than half of all cancer patients receive radiation treatments, which may be given in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Radiation therapists use focused beams of radiation to destroy tumors, while minimizing harm to healthy tissues. Alternatively, treatment may involve placing radioactive sources directly into the patient’s body. They counsel patients on possible side effects from treatment and provide advice on how to minimize side effects.

Radiation Therapy:

  • Destroys cancerous tissue
  • Involves exposure to higher doses of radiation than are required for diagnostic imaging.
  • Uses precise targets and doses to the patient
  • May be used in palliative care


To learn more about the MRT profession or to see what a day in the life of an MRT is like, please view the Info Session below!



Educational Programs for Medical Radiation Technology


Radiologic Technology Nuclear Medicine Radiation Therapy MRI
Atlantic Canada
College of the North Atlantic First Discipline Program
Dalhousie University First Discipline Program First Discipline Program Second Discipline Program
University of Prince Edward Island First Discipline Program
University of New Brunswick First Discipline Program
College Communautaire du NB First Discipline Program
Central Canada
Dawson College First Discipline Program First Discipline Program
Collège Ahuntsic First Discipline Program First Discipline Program First Discipline Program First Discipline Program
Algonquin College First Discipline Program
Mohawk-McMaster First Discipline Program First Discipline Program
Michener Institute / University of Toronto First Discipline Program First Discipline Program First Discipline Program Second Discipline Program
Fanshawe College First Discipline Program
Confederation College First Discipline Program
Collège Boréal First Discipline Program
Cambrian College First Discipline Program Second Discipline Program
Red River College Polytechnic First Discipline Program Second Discipline Program
Cancer Care MB/University of Winnipeg First Discipline Program
Western Canada
Saskatchewan Polytechnic First Discipline Program
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology First Discipline Program First Discipline Program
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology First Discipline Program Second Discipline Program
University of Alberta First Discipline Program
British Columbia Institute of Technology First Discipline Program First Discipline Program First Discipline Program First Discipline Program Second Discipline Program
College of New Caledonia First Discipline Program
Camosun College First Discipline Program


 – First Discipline program

 – Second Discipline program