X-Ray Tech Job Information

If you are thinking about a in a job in the heath care industry, you might be interested in information about working as a X-ray tech, otherwise known as a radiology technician or a radiographer.

Education/Training

You can find training programs in radiography at hospitals, junior colleges, or four year universities leading to either a certificate, associate's degree, or a bachelor's degree. Along with your education, you will most likely also need to be licensed, depending on your state's health board requirements.  In general, to become certified, you have to complete a program that lasts about two years.  Look for one accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.

You can opt to get your voluntary certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) by graduating from an accredited program and passing an exam. Doing so will make you more desirable when employers are considering whether to hire you, especially since you have to complete 24 hours of continuing education every 2 years in order to maintain your ARRT certification.

Basic Tasks

The main job of X-ray technicians is to take X-rays of different parts of the human body in order to diagnose a variety of medical problems. As a X-ray technician, you will follow doctors' orders and prepare patients for radiologic exams by discussing exactly what the procedure will entail, having patients remove items like jewelry that x rays can't pass through, and placing patients in the correct position so that the appropriate parts of their body can be radiographed. You will also be placing lead shields and other radiation protection equipment on patients. In addition, you will need to take precautions to protect yourself and your co-workers from dangerous radiation.

You will also need to determine the size as well as the angle and height of the x-ray beam needed so you can set the appropriate controls for contrast, density, and detail on the equipment. You will have to keep up with patient records, prepare paperwork, and maintain the equipment. Sometimes, as a mobile technician, you'll be traveling with x-ray equipment to help people in various locations. And if you happen to be a supervisor, you will prepare work schedules, handle budgets, and manage the radiology department.

Job Outlook

Radiologic technologists held over 200,000 jobs in 2008, and this field is expected to grow faster than average with those individuals who have knowledge and experience in more than one diagnostic imaging technique (mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, and tomography) having the greatest chances for employment. Hospitals are the primary employers of Xray technicians, but jobs are also available in diagnostic imaging centers, mobile units, and physicians' offices.

As a X-ray tech, you can expect to work a 40 hour week, but some of these hours may include evenings and weekends. You may also work only part time or for multiple employers. As a full time radiologic technologist, you can expect to make anywhere from $35,000 to $75,000 a year, depending on your level of experience and where you work.

Advancement

Experienced X-ray technicians have the potential to be promoted to chief radiologic technologist, supervisor, and even department administrator or director. You could also become an instructor at a radiologic technology educational program or a sales representative for an X-ray equipment manufacturer.

So if you are someone who is looking for a career in the health care industry with good growth potential, becoming an X-ray tech just might be the right choice for you.