Are you interested in learning about the role of an X-Ray Technician, their responsibilities, and what position they play in medical care? In my in-depth look at What Does An X-Ray Technician Do?
I’ll be answering the most frequently asked questions about this fascinating medical job and discussing how to become one.
So, let’s get straight to it…
What Is The Role of an X-Ray Technician?
An X-Ray Technician, also known as a Radiologic Technician, uses technology to look at images of patients’ bones and bodies to diagnose any underlying conditions and evaluate whether patients require treatment.
They use a range of different medical equipment to do this, such as X-Ray machines, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerised Tomography (CT), Ultrasound, and Endoscopy. The majority of Technicians work in hospitals and are trained to treat and diagnose a range of patients with varying medical issues.
What Are The Responsibilities of An X-Ray Technician?
The most common responsibilities of an x-ray technician include…
- Diagnose patient’s conditions using medical equipment
- Analyze, interpret, and evaluate results using x-ray imaging
- Conduct medical assessments and treatment plans
- Provide medical recommendations
- Adjust X-Ray imaging to provide accurate results
How Much Do X-Ray Technicians Earn?
The average salary of an X-Ray Technician is around $60,000 per year in the US in 2023. This means you expect to earn an average of around $30 per hour. However, this figure will depend on the state you’re working in, the type of institution, as well as the demand for your expertise.
How Do You Become an X-ray Technician?
To qualify, you will need to gain an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science or become a Bachelor of Science. Before working as a trained X-Ray Technician, most companies request an Associate’s Degree as the minimum.
But before you get to that stage, you’ll need to complete your education. It helps to focus on maths and science in High School before opting to complete your higher education Associate or Undergraduate Bachelor of Science in a healthcare-related field. Your education will involve a combination of academic studies and learning how to work in a clinical setting. Depending on your location, you may be required to obtain a license to study an academic program and become certified.
You must complete an internship to become a qualified X-Ray Technician. You can find placements with your local university, which involve working in a practical setting and learning how to perform the necessary duties. You’ll first be supervised and will learn how to develop vital skills that will support your future career in Radiology.
Next, you must complete the relevant certificate and pass an exam. The certificates options are listed below. You must complete an exam to become licensed. All exams must be accredited under the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
What’s the Difference Between an Associates Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree in Science?
It’s helpful to know the differences between the two qualifications before taking either degree to work as an X-Ray Technician. The main difference is the time it takes to qualify. An Associates Degree takes two years, while a Bachelor’s Degree takes up to four to complete.
Completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science involves more coursework and examinations, but has a higher salary potential, and generally, there are more career opportunities available as well.
What Program Should You Choose?
To work as an X-Ray Technician, you have to ensure your qualifications are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).
You’ll have to undergo appropriate training to obtain a license to work for most medical institutions. If you need guidance finding an appropriate program, you can search the official committee website for Radiologic Technology.
What Is an X-Ray Certification?
This is a training program that potential radiologists undergo to ensure they can legally use medical equipment and perform x-rays and other related assessments. This certificate must be accredited by the (JRCERT) if it’s to be recognized by a health institution.
Types of Certificates
Obtaining a certificate is not mandatory to get employed as an X-Ray Technician, though completing one will enhance your earning potential.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technicians (ARRT)
This is for individuals that want to specialize in certain types of radiology. You have to obtain an Associate’s degree in Radiologic Technology and complete education in an (AART) institution to be accredited. To qualify, you must pass an ethics review and take an exam.
Registered Radiology Assistant (RRA)
To become a registered Radiology Assistant, you must hold an advanced qualification. Radiology uses medical imagery to diagnose and treat illnesses. This certificate must be accredited under the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART). To qualify, you must pass an ethics review and take an exam. To enter the program, you must have a Bachelor’s Degree.
Radiologic Technologist Mammography Certification
This is obtained through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Mammography is related to using medical imagery to detect illnesses and diseases in breasts. To get the certificate, you must have a minimum of forty hours of training in mammography. You’ll also be required to sit an exam.
Therapeutic Radiologic Technology Certification
This is for individuals that want to become registered as a Radiologist. You’ll be required to sit an exam to pass this certificate as well as have an Associate’s degree.
The majority of X-Ray Technicians work full-time in hospitals, physician offices, medical laboratories, and outpatient centers.
The nature of this role involves moving heavy machinery and equipment, being in a radioactive environment, and seeing multiple patients a day. Work schedules vary, and X-Ray Technicians are needed during evenings, weekends, as well as in emergencies.
What Skills Do You Need To Be An X-Ray Technician?
Next, let’s cover the necessary skills needed to be a successful X-Ray Technician…
You will need to work with radiology technology and equipment to make assessments and report medical data for patients and other professionals. Using and adjusting X-Ray machines and reading CT scans are a part of the regular duties of a Technician. You may also be required to deal with any technical issues and fix equipment during the examinations.
Having sufficient knowledge about medical science is crucial for this role. You must have a good understanding of human anatomy and know how to diagnose conditions and illnesses. You should be able to identify vital signs of serious health conditions and know how to treat them.
To qualify as an X-Ray Technician, you’ll be required to prove your medical expertise by passing exams to obtain your certificate and also gain enough work experience before independently working in this role.
Being able to communicate and have good interpersonal skills is integral for this role. You won’t be interacting with patients as much as other medical workers, but you’ll need to be able to work with a variety of them with varying needs. You must also take into account patients’ concerns and consider these during medical assessments.
Therefore, you must therefore be able to communicate with patients to check that they are comfortable and have everything they need during the medical exams. Communicating and interacting in a multi-disciplinary setting with other medical professionals such as physicians is also required.
To be able to conduct and assess numerous patients with complex needs, punctuality is a necessity. You may also be multitasking during consultations and have different issues to attend to at once. So it’s important to prioritize workflow and make sure you can finish examinations as scheduled.
Assessing patients accurately and producing reliable results is essential for an X-Ray Technician. Evaluating patients and not reporting the correct information can lead to a misdiagnosis. So it’s not only important that you have sufficient knowledge in this field, but also that you are very detail-oriented.
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Or, if you have your heart set on being an X-Ray Technician, check out the following books to help you on your journey – Becoming a Radiologic Technologist – A Student’s Guide: from Choosing the Right School to Jump Starting Your Career, X-Ray Tech (Quick Study Academic), the Radiographic Positioning: Pocket Guide, or for a humorous look at the profession, The Foreign Body – A collection of the most interesting X-rays of things that don’t belong and the stories behind how they got there!
What Does An X-Ray Technician Do?
So, that’s it; you now know exactly what’s involved in working as and becoming an X-Ray Technician. It’s a very interesting job with a lot of variety and constant challenges, but the reward of helping people recover from injuries and have a better life is well worth it.
If you think you’re up to the role and really want to make a difference in people’s lives, start your journey today, and the very best with your career as an X-Ray Technician.