The X-Ray Technician

Most everyone has needed an x-ray at one time or another in their lives. It could be that they had an accident and broke an arm or leg or they had a chest x-ray during a routine exam. While the x-ray procedure is almost nothing to a patient, much goes into creating quality images that a doctor can use. This is the job of an x-ray technician who possibly assists an x-ray technologist.

It is vitally important to be informed!
Be sure to request information from more than one school in order to compare which program is best for you.

Popular Schools — Or Choose A State —>

Matching School Ads
  • View Certificates, Associates or Bachelors Degree Programs in Medical Assisting Near YOU!
  • Free Information for Medical Assisting, Healthcare Administration, Medical Billing, Coding & Transcription Degree Programs & MORE.
  • Enter YOUR Needs and Requirements & Get Matched to the Perfect Campus or Online Degree Programs.
  • Accredited, Flexible and Affordable Medical Assisting Programs that Fit Your Time & Budget. Use our Matching Service - It's Easy and FREE!


    Locations: Atlanta

    Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, is dedicated to helping students gain the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed. Drawing from over 30 years of career school experience.


      Locations: ChesapeakeNorfolk

      Fortis Institute can give you the skills you need to train for a career in the healthcare field.

      * Programs vary by location

      * Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information


        Locations: Richmond

        At a Glance

        X-Ray Technician TrainingOther Job Titles: Radiologic Technician
        Salary Range:
        $22,000-$73,000; Median $42,432
        Education/Training Required:
        Typical is a two-year associate’s degree in radiography
        Desired Skills/Aptitude:
        detail-oriented; science; mathematics; technical; interpersonal communication skills
        Most states require a limited x-ray license in order to do basic x-rays;
        Locations with Best Opportunities:
        Mississippi, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, California
        Employment Outlook:
        Expected to grow 28% through 2020 (faster than average)
        Opportunities for Advancement:
        X-ray technicians further their education and find opportunities in radiation therapy and diagnostic medical sonography; They can also meet certification requirements to become radiologic technologists; Some go on to become doctors of radiography after completing further education

        What an X-Ray Technician Does

        It is important to first understand that an x-ray technician is not the same as an x-ray technologist. The latter requires more stringent requirements plus certification.

        An x-ray technician’s main responsibility is to produce images that show the internal region of a patient as directed by a physician. The technician oftentimes will assist the technologist. The physician will order the x-rays giving instructions as to which area should be imaged. For example, if the physician suspects that a patient has a broken ankle then x-rays will be ordered for that region. It is up to the x-ray technician to carry out the order and produce quality images that allow the physician to diagnose the condition such as where the fracture is.

        The technician’s other responsibilities are to:

        • Position the patient for taking an x-ray
        • Describe the procedure to the patient
        • Prepare the patient by removing anything to hinder an x-ray
        • Position radiologic devices for getting the right image
        • Ensure patient safety with proper safety devices such as lead shields

        Experienced and certified technicians who advance to technologists may also move into supervisory roles where they must manage shifts, prepare work schedules, and evaluate radiologic equipment purchases.

        The Workplace

        Most x-ray technicians work in hospitals and are shift workers. You will also find that some work in doctor’s offices, medical laboratories, and outpatient centers.

        A typical day requires interfacing with patients and in some cases can be hurried and stressful. This is especially true for emergency rooms where several patients may all need x-rays at once.

        Education and Certification

        The typical program for an x-ray technician is for an associate’s degree in radiography. There are also certificate programs that last between 6 and 12 months but the associate’s degree is where you will get the best training. This is because the two-year associate’s degree also has clinical training where you actually practice in a hospital setting. There are four-year bachelor degree programs as well.

        Accreditation of radiography training programs is done by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Check this before choosing a school because some states have strict requirements that a technician be trained only in a school with this accreditation.

        Most states require licensing of x-ray technicians but only on a limited basis. A full license as a technologist is possible only after completing an accredited training program and passing a certification exam. Some states offer their own certification and nationally it can be obtained from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). However, the ARRT does not give certification to x-ray technicians even though they can take the exam. Nonetheless, if you have completed an accredited education program and passed the certification exam, you will become a radiologic technician. Continuing education is a must for keeping certification active.