How to Become an X-Ray Technician

If you’re interested in health, are good with technology, and want to work with people then you might like to become an X-Ray technician.

These medical professionals administer diagnostic imaging procedures, which could include x-rays, CT scans, mammograms, and MRI scans.

Most X-Ray technicians work within hospitals, a minority will work in private physician’s offices.

Job prospects in this field are good since strong growth is expected for many careers in medicine.

Excellent job security is on offer to qualified candidates.

In most states you will need to be licensed to work as a x-ray technician.

This requires some education, as well as a set examination.

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Education Requirements to Become an X-Ray Technician

If you’re in high school and would like to become an x-ray technician, subjects in maths, chemistry, and physics all make good choices.

There are a few different educational pathways you can take after graduation.

To become an x-ray technician you can either complete a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelors degree in radiography.

The certificate takes eighteen months to complete, and the associates degree takes two years.

The bachelors degree take four years to complete.

The higher the level of education you complete, the more job opportunities you will have, and the greater salary you will earn.

In all of these programs both classroom and practical learning forms a part of the course.

Anatomy, pharmacology, medical terminology, and ethics are learned by students.

Federal law requires that x-ray technicians be licensed.

However, licensure requirements vary between states.

The requirements are based around safety when using radiologic technology.

X-Ray Technician Job Description

An x-ray technician performs a range of procedures using radiography.

They take and develop x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and mammograms.

An x-ray technician will be referred a patient by another medical professional, and will usually receive the file shortly before they see a patient.

The technician will spend some time preparing the patient for the procedure.

They will make sure they change into a gown and remove any jewelry.

Safety is of the utmost importance, since x-ray technicians take many measures to protect themselves and their patients from radiation exposure.

This include protective guards and shield, control over beams, and lead protection.

After capturing the images on an x-ray, they will develop the images and return them to the referring physician.

Other duties that an x-ray technician may complete include keeping patient records, putting together patient lists, and other administrative duties.

Most x-ray technicians work a forty hour week.

They may need to work on weekends, evenings, or holidays, and some x-ray technicians also work on call, and may need to report to work on short notice in the case of an emergency.

Here are some of the tasks of an x-ray technician:

  • Reviewing physician’s notes on a patient
  • Explaining the procedure to a patient
  • Preparing a patient
  • Giving the patient a prepared solution to drink
  • Taking an x-ray
  • Developing an x-ray
  • Returning results to physicians

X-Ray Technician Salary and Career Path

When you first become an x-ray technician, you will be given simple tasks and patients to manage.

As you gain experience you will be given more independence in your role.

Some x-ray technicians go on to specialize in particular types of imaging.

Some may provide only CT scans or MRI scans, while some go on to complete further study to become nuclear medicine technicians.

Others work in other areas of medicine or go on to pursue research.

Currently most jobs for x-ray technicians are in hospitals, but more jobs are expected to be created in the offices of physicians in coming years.

The median salary of an x-ray technician is $52,000 a year.

The top 10% of earners make more than $74,000 a year.

Those who work in laboratories earn more than those in hospitals and private clinics.

Jobs in the field of radiography are increasing faster than average when compared to other occupations.

Some similar jobs to that of an x-ray technician include:

  • Registered nurse
  • Cardiovascular technician
  • Pathologist
  • Medical researcher
  • Sonographer
  • Ultrasound technician

If you are looking for a career in medicine with a strong future, then you might like to become an x-ray technician.

There is a good salary available, and lots of opportunity for professional development within the medical field.

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