Bone Densitometry Technologists use a special type of x-ray equipment to measure bone mineral density at a specific anatomical site (usually the wrist, heel, spine or hip) or to calculate total body bone mineral content. Results can be used by physicians to estimate the amount of bone loss due to osteoporosis.
Bone density (or bone mineral density) is a medical term referring to the amount of matter per square centimeter of bones. Note that this is not a true "density," which would be measured in mass per cubic area. It is measured by a procedure called densitometry, often performed in the radiology or nuclear medicine departments of hospitals or clinics. The measurement is painless and non-invasive and involves minimal radiation exposure. Measurements are most commonly made over the lumbar spine and over the upper part of the hip. The forearm is scanned if either the hip or the lumbar spine can't be. Average density is around 1500 kg m-3.
Bone Density technologists usually receive on the job training. There are limited program options.
$41,000 - $55,000
Meet a Professional: Renee
What interested you in becoming a Technologist?
The reason I became a Bone Density Technologist was, first, an opportunity to advance in Radiology. Second, I enjoy working on research projects. Third, while I love to be busy, I like to work off of a schedule and know what the day will have in store. I like to be prepared for any challenges.
What physical and/or soft skills do you need to have to succeed?
To succeed in Bone Density, you need to be able to speak to patients in a way that they understand. Be professional and courteous. Computer skills are recommended. We provide a service to patients as well as teach them how to keep their bones healthy and answer any questions they have concerning bone related medications, Calcium and Vitamin D.
What advice would you give to interested high school students?
The advice I would give to interested students would be to shadow an area for a day to see a glimpse of the day to day activities. Biology and anatomy are recommended areas to study.
What interested you in working at Cleveland Clinic?
I love working at Cleveland Clinic. We see such a variety of patients and conditions, from postmenopausal females, to children with intestinal disorders, to organ transplant patients. Patients come to Cleveland Clinic to receive the best care from the most informed and educated people.
What excites you about working as a Technologist?
Bone Density is a constantly evolving field. The equipment is becoming faster. Medications are being discovered that can help or hinder bone growth and quality and we are able to see firsthand how patients are responding.
What has been your most gratifying experience as a Technologist?
The most gratifying experience as a technologist occurs almost daily. I enjoy the opportunity to teach others, be it patients or fellow technologists. I love it when I see someone have that “Aha!” moment.
What career options do you have as a Technologist?
The career options I have are plenty. We have opportunities in Bone Density to work on bone density research studies. We compile patient information, and work with study facilitators. Because Bone Density Technologists are also Radiologic Technologists, we have the same opportunities, from becoming supervisors to specializing in other radiology fields such as CT, Radiation Therapy, dosimetry, Quality Assurance and many more!
Whatever field you choose, try to learn the most you can about that field. The more educated you are, the more confidant you become. You have the ability to pass on that education to patients and technologists.