X-ray technician

x-ray technician description

X-ray technicians use cutting-edge imaging methods to visualize the inside of the human body. The pictures they create help physicians to diagnose and treat illnesses or injuries with great accuracy. Technicians have a unique opportunity to work with some of the most exciting and groundbreaking medical machinery available. They also get the satisfaction of assisting and supporting patients, including those who are nervous or in pain.

reasons this career would appeal to me

1) X-ray technicians work with a wide variety of imaging technologies, including:

  • Traditional X-ray machines
  • Computerized axial tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Film and digital mammography

2) This career typically only requires an associates degree, yet is a very well paying job.

work enviroment

Until a few years ago, almost all X-ray technicians worked in hospitals. However, many health systems now offer MRI, mammography and other imaging services on an outpatient basis. Today, over a third of technicians work in physician offices and specialized diagnostic centers.

Most X-ray technicians work full time. In facilities that provide round-the-clock care, their shifts most likely include some evenings, weekends and holidays. Technicians in outpatient settings are more likely to work regular business hours.

Some types of imaging machines emit small amounts of ionizing radiation. To minimize exposure risks, technicians must adhere closely to safety procedures and use shielding and protective clothing when appropriate.

Education

some certificate programs only last 6 months. However, beginning in 2015 technicians must hold an associate's degree from an accredited instititution.

Training programs in X-ray technology include courses in anatomy, biology and physics. Students take an in-depth look at the complex interactions between radiation and living tissue. Some programs also cover phlebotomy and intravenous drug administration. Most X-ray technicians complete both classroom and practical training.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for radiologic technicians was $54,340 in May 2010—much higher than the median salary for all health technology occupations. The middle eighty percent of radiologic technicians earned between $36,000 and $76,000 annually. Earnings vary across geographic areas and are generally highest where there is a shortage of healthcare workers