What Is Diagnostic Imaging?

Diagnostic imaging is a process by which a magnetic image is taken of the human body to diagnose a particular problem the patient may be having. Types of diagnostic imaging include CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging. Read on for more information on this process. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Diagnostic Imaging

The purpose of taking a diagnostic image of the human body is to create an image from which a medical professional can diagnose a specific problem. There are several different types of diagnostic images. The two primary types are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans. These images vary in their degree of effectiveness, and the type of diagnostic imaging used depends on the patient's needs.

Important Facts About a Diagnostic Imaging Career

Median Pay (2014)$67,530
Entry-Level Education Associate's degree
Job Outlook (2012-22) 39% Much faster than average
Work Environment Hospitals, physicians offices, diagnostic laboratories

Source: U. S Bureau of Labor Statistics


According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), MRI is an extremely sophisticated technique that uses a combination of a magnetic field, a computer and radio waves to generate a complex, detailed image of the human anatomy. A MRI exam is conducted by placing a patient inside a scanner that produces a magnetic field about 8,000 times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field.

MRIs can produce a better soft tissue image than an X-ray. They're commonly used to take images of the spine, brain, vascular system, musculoskeletal system or thorax.


A CT scan is a method of diagnostic imaging that produces an image of anatomy at different levels within the body. The ASRT notes that this procedure is also referred to as cross-sectional imaging. CT scans are used in particular situations, such as checking for internal bleeding, stroke, blood clots and tumors.

CT scans help determine what stage a cancer has advanced to, which in turn allows doctors to decide how to treat it. In addition, these scans may be used in biopsies, which is the collection of tissues for analysis.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »