How to Become an X-Ray Tech

X-ray tech's are in very high demand right now for work in hospitals, dental and medical practices and medical imaging centers. As an important member of the medical diagnostic team, an x-ray technician works with patients by taking pictures of them. The x-ray photos allow doctors to diagnose health issues and provide treatment.

Job Description

X-ray technicians, which are sometimes called radiologic technicians or radiology techs, usually are employed in hospital settings but can also work in clinics, laboratories or imaging centers. The primary duties of x-ray technician vary, depending on the workplace. However most techs take pictures using x-ray machines, deal with patients and answer any questions they may have. Experienced x-ray techs sometimes specialize in a particular area such as CAT scans, MRI scans or mammography. 

Education and Training

The programs for x-ray technicians can range from 1 to 4 years in length, either resulting in a certificate, associate degree or bachelors degree in a specific area. One year accelerated x-ray technician programs are designed for professionals already working in the healthcare field. 

Bachelor level programs are generally pursued by those who wish to upgrade and to supervise or management positions within x-ray technicians which means they would be managing the x-rays and the workers. Two-year associate degree programs are designed for those who want to be certified through the American Registry of radiologic technicians. To be eligible for the certification, you must complete an accredited program and pass complete the exam.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007, 40 states require licensed x-ray technicians and 35 states required those who want to work in this field to have a state license. Remember to keep in mind that certification and licensing is based on the state, so it's best to find out the information for your area.

X-ray technicians are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education, every two years, in order to maintain their certification. Additional training and education is made available through workshops, centers or by taking more courses.

Prospects

X-ray technician jobs are expected to increase by 15%, due to higher demand of patients. Also, with the increase outpatient care, employment opportunities and new imaging techniques, there will be many jobs available. X-ray tech careers are considered to be part of the healthcare industry and are more recession resistant, due to the formed union that protects them.

Earnings

The average x-ray tech salary varies depending on being location, specialization and type of work location. The common salary for x-ray techs across the United States is $44,000 to $49,000 per year, with over 25% earning over 55,000 per year. 

X-ray technicians provide very good assistance to doctors and physicians because they are the key in helping diagnose an illness. With the expected growth in employment, higher salary ranges are projected to take place and more entry-level positions will be available in the healthcare field. Becoming an x-ray technician is a great way for people like to work with patients and love the medical field.