How To Become An X-Ray Technician
Career Video: X-Ray Technician
X-ray technicians, use high-tech imaging equipment to allow them to get a visual of the inside of the body. Upon taking pictures, or X-rays, of their patients, the physicians are able to view the images and make diagnoses of injuries or illnesses, thus allowing them to be treated properly.
Why Become An X-Ray Technician
There are many reasons people choose the occupation of x-ray technician for their lifelong career. There are many advantages to this type of employment, as well as many responsibilities. X-Ray technicians do not simply take X-rays; they also interact with the patient before and after. They must get a little background history on the patient, such as symptoms, health history, and they must also answer questions and, at times, calm the patient when they are hurting or anxious.
Imaging technicians also must use their knowledge of the equipment to be able to properly position the patient, shield them from radiation, and give clear instructions on what to do during the imaging process. They also communicate any findings to the physician, or radiologist, if necessary. They also have responsibilities of following doctors’ instructions, listening to the patient, and being able to do more than one task at a time.
X-ray technicians work with many types of machines, depending on their work environment and placement. There are the traditional X-ray mechanisms, computerized machines, such as axial tomography, called the CT scan, and digital mammography. Some technicians work with magnetic resonance imaging, or the MRI, and others that are developed in which they may need to be trained to operate appropriately.
X-Ray Technician Work Environment
People that enjoy this occupation work in hospitals, outpatient clinics that offer specialized imaging services, diagnostic centers, and physician offices. The work environment is a quiet, calming place, as many patients come in with injuries or symptoms and they require a comforting atmosphere while they are being diagnosed. Technicians usually work full-time and are on their feet quite a lot, as many work long hours helping patients.
Workplace safety is of the upmost importance because of the large equipment used. Radiation exposure must be kept to an absolute minimal degree; therefore, the technician must use shielding techniques and, at times, wear clothing that protects them from the radiation.
X-Ray Technician Salary
The average salary of an X-Ray technician is $54,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The range is anywhere from $36,000 to $77,000 per year, depending on experience and work environment. Technicians who work in larger hospitals will more than likely make more salary than those who work in smaller clinics, and experience also is a key factor.
X-Ray Technician Career Outlook
The career outlook is very positive in this field. It is expected to increase approximately 30% in the next decade. This is considered quite greater than the average health care occupation, largely in part due to more-enhanced imaging equipment being developed, advocacy and awareness for preventative imaging, such as with mammograms to screen for breast cancer, and colonoscopies to check for colon cancer. More insurance companies also cover these preventative imaging procedures, as well.
X-Ray Technician Degree
There are many options for going to college to become an X-Ray technician. Many people go to college and get a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, or a certificate program. Some individuals choose to look for a major in radiologic technology, while others choose to take a two-year training program to get a certificate. Students take many classes, such as anatomy, physiology, biology, and physics. It really depends on how far you would like to take your career, as many x-ray technicians start out as being general technicians, and then choose to upgrade their qualifications by specializing in certain machinery and specific types of imaging, such as mammogram imaging.
Once students acquire their degree through coursework and hands-on training, they must become licensed to become nationally certified, and each state also has qualifications, as well. Technicians are also required to continue their training as new machines and enhanced imaging equipment is developed, so they may become experienced in using the new technology.
If you feel that working in a medical setting, using advanced technology, and giving professional, kind customer care is something that you want to do in your career, this field may be the best choice for you!