X-Ray Technician Salary: Requirements, Education, and More

Are you thinking about becoming an xray technician? Does the prospect of using cutting-edge medical technology excite you? If you answered yes to either of these questions, this article is for you. We will take you through the essential information you need to decide whether the job is right for you.
By the end of this article, you will know what an xray technician is and what one does on a day-to-day basis. You will also know what education and certification you will need to become one. You will know what career paths will be available to you. Lastly, of course, you will know what the average Xray tech salary is.

WHAT IS AN X-RAY TECHNICIAN?

X-ray technicians play a vital role in modern healthcare.

Also known as radiologic technologists, xray technicians use state-of-the-art imaging technology to take X-ray  images of the inside of the human body. Physicians use these images to make diagnoses and treat illnesses and injuries. Whenever you go to the hospital for an X-ray, it is the X-ray technician who explains the procedure and answers your questions.

The X-ray technician has advanced knowledge of the science and technology involved. They are trained to use a variety of medical technologies, such as:
  • Traditional X-ray machines
  • Computerized axial tomography (CT)
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Film and digital mammography
With their special training, the X-ray technician prepares these machines and their associated procedures for you in a way that protects you from any harmful exposure to radiation.

On top of operating these machines, X-ray technicians maintain them and keep records of their usage.

X-ray technicians work in a variety of locations. Until recently, they only worked in hospitals. Today, however, many medical institutions offer MRI, mammography, and other such imaging procedures on an outpatient basis. As an X-ray technician, you could work at a hospital, at a physician’s office, or a specialized diagnostic center.

The hours of an X-ray technician will largely depend on where he or she works. Technicians in hospitals are more likely to have irregular working hours than one in an outpatient setting. The life of a technician, therefore, can get quite hectic. The hours are not the only thing that can vary. The Xray tech salary will also vary from work setting to work setting.

There are a number of qualities that X-ray technicians should have to be successful at their work. First and foremost, they should have a strong attention to detail. The equipment they use on a daily basis are highly technical and not to be used haphazardly.

X-ray technicians should have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They interact with both physicians and their patients. Their physicians depend on them to accurately relay their expertise and follow their detailed instructions. Patients depend on them to explain X-ray procedures, and in order to keep them safe, X-ray technicians need to be articulate throughout.

They should also be good at handling stressful situations. Technicians regularly interact with patients who are nervous, worried, or otherwise stressed and need to be near a calming presence.

EDUCATION & CERTIFICATION

The educational requirements of X-ray technicians can change from one state to another. According to federal government regulations, however, all technicians will need to get some form of advanced training that amounts to associate’s degree at the minimum.

CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS

ASSOCIATE’S OR BACHELOR’S DEGREE

WHAT X-RAY TECHNICIAN STUDENTS LEARN

THE AMERICAN REGISTRY OF RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGISTS (ARRT)

STATE LICENSURE

CAREER PATH

With ARRT certification and/or a state license, you can begin work as an X-ray technician.

X-ray technicians may find themselves working in many different environments throughout their career. They may work at hospitals, physicians’ offices, imaging centers, rehabilitation centers, just to name a few possibilities.
Some X-ray technicians work for an agency that sends them to various medical facilities, depending on the local need.

As an X-ray technician, you will have a few different options in terms of career advancement. Many technicians continue their education and training through the ARRT, earning different kinds of certification. With this, they can move onto other positions, perhaps as a radiologist assistant. With additional certification, they can also work with different equipment, such as MRI machines.

Many X-ray technicians also specialize in a certain subset of healthcare, such as of a specific body part or illness.

As a technician, you also have the option of moving onto teaching positions at colleges. You could work with manufacturing companies of the imaging equipment as a sales representative. You can also climb your way up in your workplace to take on leadership roles, perhaps as a department director.

It is often the case that X-ray technicians spend a few years on the job before they learn a related area of study that interests them. X-ray technicians have a unique vantage point in healthcare. They get a close look at all sorts of careers in medicine. They often take this knowledge and go back to school to make the career transition.

Either way, X-ray technicians enjoy a number of promising options in terms of how to develop their career.

CONCLUSION

Xray Tech is holding a xray film

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

With how prevalent the use of imaging technologies in medicine has become, a career as an X-ray technician has become quite popular. The demand is projected to increase in the years to come, so it is a secure position.

If you enjoy helping people, learning about complex technologies, and working with many different kinds of people, you may find being an X-ray technician to be exciting and fulfilling. It is a dynamic career with a relatively light barrier of entry, so it is widely accessible, regardless of where you are in your professional journey.

Featured Image by Elías Alarcón from Pixabay

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