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.

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Be sure to request information from more than one school in order to compare which program is best for you.

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Get hands-on training with Remington College. We offer diploma and associate and bachelor's degree programs in business, criminal justice, culinary arts, health care, and cosmetology at our campuses in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas — plus some courses are offered online.

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  • Diploma in Medical Assisting with X-Ray Tech (Limited Scope)

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Programs:

  • Associate of Science in Radiation Therapy
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Programs:

  • X-Ray Technician/Back Office Medical Assistant
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The College of Health Care Professions is a great place for working adults to enhance their current careers, or help themselves find new career pathways to better lives. We also train high school graduates to enter in the exciting high demand Healthcare industry.

Our programs are focused and centered on empowering you with the skills you need to enter the expanding and rewarding Health Care Industry. Learn only what you need to gain employment in your particular field, so you can get certified and enter the job market faster.

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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


Programs:

  • Medical Assisting with Basic X-Ray Operation
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South College, located in Knoxville, Tennessee, can help you achieve your goals. We offer a small college environment, quality programs, and flexible day, evening, or Saturday classes.

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Pioneer Pacific College is uncompromisingly dedicated to helping people improve their lives through high-quality, college-level career education. 

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South College-Asheville offers a range of career-focused programs designed to help you reach your potential. Program areas include accounting, business administration, medical assisting, criminal justice and more.

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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
Certification/Licensing:
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.