what are xray technicians?
professionals who use diagnostic imaging techniques like xrays on patients to identify broken bones or other health problems are known as xray technicians. in a hospital setting, their job is quite important. if you want to know how to become an xray technician, or want to know what they do, our guide will help you gain better insight and decide if this is a profession you want to enter.
what does an xray technician do?
on top of the basic work involving setting up and using the instruments for imaging, the xray technician is also responsible for the following tasks:
taking orders from the physicians on what areas of the body to image
preparing the patient for all procedures
obtaining an accurate medical history
correctly shielding those areas which are not supposed to be imaged
maintaining the equipment
interpret the image results and make recommendations to the radiologist regarding the patient's condition.
how to become an xray technician
the most common route to becoming an xray technician is to obtain an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. certification programs are also available, and these last between 6 to 12 months. however, these short programs are only recommended for individuals who are already working in the healthcare industry and have some prerequisite experience.
the associate's and bachelor's degree vary in duration. an associate's degree program typically lasts two years, while a bachelor's degree program is more rigorous and usually lasts four years. over the course of your degree program, you will be taken through an understanding of the various equipment which is used in xray imaging, and the proper ways of handling the x-ray equipment. the bachelor's degree goes a step further and includes courses in humanities and social sciences as well as math, to create a more holistic learning experience. the added coursework also gives candidates a competitive edge and allows them greater flexibility in their careers.
licensing and certification is an important part of becoming an xray technician. the american registry of radiologic technologists (arrt) is the governing body which administers licensing exams in every state. the requirements to become a technician vary by state, and it is recommended that you find out your state's criteria before applying to schools for degrees in xray imaging.
job outlook and pay
the us bureau of labor statistics (bls) reported the median annual wage for this profession in 2010 was around $54,340, and the top ten percent earning more than $76,850. the bls also projected growth in this field at 28 percent, which is above-par compared to the national average. this increase is expected because of a higher demand for xray technicians in diagnosing the elderly, who are at higher risk of injury to the bone. as imaging technologies improve there will be a need for competent individuals who are able to keep up and use the instruments in proper diagnosis of medical conditions.