X Ray Technician: a Versatile Career

Radiological technology is among the most important aspects of the medical profession. X ray technicians are responsible for taking the internal images that help physicians diagnose and treat patients.

It also comes with a lot of responsibility. Technicians work day in and day out with radiology and safe operation of equipment is crucial to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation.

If you are looking to become an x ray technician, there are a few things you’ll want to know about the profession.

x ray technician facts

Primary Responsibilities

X ray technicians are responsible for making sure all imaging equipment is maintained an functioning properly. They also safely prepare patients to for imaging and are often responsible for gathering a medical history and answering any patient questions about x ray procedures.

They work in virtually all areas of the medical field, from hospitals to dentist offices and even veterinary clinics. While x ray technicians work closely with patients, they are never allowed to talk about findings with patients. That responsibility is left solely to the physician, who is better trained to analyze x ray images and offer a diagnosis.

Training

Most x ray technicians attended a trade school or college. The most common course of study lasts about two years and results in an A.A.S., or Associate of Applied Science degree. In many states, technicians will be required to hold specific certifications, usually obtained through a test administered by a medical oversight organization.

The best bet to pass any exam is to attend a credible school that will properly prepare students to pass the necessary exams. Prospective students should make sure the school they choose is accredited and offers career placement services.

Employment Prospects

The job prospects are looking good for x ray technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to grow by 28 percent through 2020, faster than average for all occupations. It’s a good career choice for anyone looking to break into the medical field, earn a decent living and have a bit of job security.

Much of the job growth is being attributed to a higher population of aging people who need medical imaging services. Most x ray technicians will continue to be employed by hospitals, more opportunities will become available in private practice as well as medical imaging centers.

Salary

Most x ray technicians make over $50,000 a year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage in 2010 was $54,340. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36, 510 while the highest-paid x ray technicians pulled in more than $76,850.

Those starting a career as an x ray technician can expect to work full time. Many technicians will work nights and weekends to accommodate the need for hospitals to have an emergency x ray technician on staff.

Other Considerations

Due to the nature of the medical profession, an x ray technician can expect to spend much of the shift on their feet. Like other medical professionals, technicians are sometimes exposed to infectious disease.

A somewhat unique hazard is that of radiation exposure, which is minimized thanks to the use of sophisticated equipment and aprons designed to deflect radiation.

 

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