Last Updated: September 07, 2021
How to Become an X-ray Technician?
Being a radiologic technician or an x-ray technician is one of the jobs that can be opted for from within the healthcare sector. This is one of those jobs within the industry that does not require candidates to invest themselves in academics for 8 or more years. Candidates who take up this field of study will be able to enter the job market after an associate or bachelor’s degree as long as they clear the certification requirements of the state that they wish to work in.
Candidates who take up this field will have to learn the operation of medical imaging equipment and take images of patients’ bodies for medical examination. Apart from taking these images, they will also be in charge of explaining the procedure to patients and ensuring that they are comfortable throughout the process. This is one of those fields that can ensure candidates with a permanent job within the industry as long as they are willing to be dedicated employees. They will be able to receive many benefits within the industry while doing this profession.
Eligibility to Become an X-ray Technician
Candidates who wish to be an X-ray technician will have to start by completing their high school education with a concentration in science-related subjects. They will be able to do either an associate degree or a bachelor’s program in radiology after which they will need state certification. The basic eligibility requirements, then, are-
- High School Diploma
- Associate Degree/Bachelor’s Degree in Radiology/Postsecondary program in X-ray Technology
- State Certification
- ARRT Certification (if required)
Benefits of Becoming an X-ray Technician
The most important benefit of being an x-ray technician lies in the fact that candidates don’t have to spend years of education to be one. An associate degree or a bachelor’s degree is more than enough to be an x-ray technician as long as candidates also fulfil certification requirements. The main benefits of being an x-ray technician are-
- Candidates who take up this profession will have an above-average salary when compared to most career paths in the healthcare sector.
- They will also be able to receive additional benefits from the healthcare sector like health and dental insurance, retirement savings plans, etc. This is mainly because x-ray technicians will most often be employed either in hospitals or specialized clinics.
- Candidates who take up this field will always be able to find employment and therefore will be able to have a successful life.
- This career path can be seen as the beginning of one’s earning potential since there will always be room for growth within the field.
- Candidates who enter with bare minimum credentials will be able to build them over time by specializing in radiography, tomography, MRI, radiation therapy, etc. Specializing in a field will let them climb up the ladder and gain different positions within the field that will also allow them to earn a higher amount as salary.
Steps to Become an X-ray Technician
The steps to become an X-ray technician are as follows-
-Candidates must start their endeavor to become an x-ray technician by completing their high school diploma or an equivalent of the same.
- Now, they will be able to join an accredited associate degree/bachelor’s degree/postsecondary degree in radiologic or x-ray technology. An associate degree, which is most commonly chosen, will take a duration of 2 years whereas a bachelor’s degree will take 4 years for completion.
- Either as part of the course or otherwise, candidates will have to do externships and training during this period. This period will give candidates the necessary work experience they will require for entering the career field.
- After this, they will have to get their state license, the requirements of which vary from state to state. Candidates will be able to start working as a professional after this step has been completed.
- Now, candidates will be able to take an ARRT certification voluntarily if they wish to advance their career or gain more credibility. Having an ARRT certification will open new career opportunities for the candidate.
Programs in Radiology
To be an x-ray technician, candidates will only require an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in radiology or radiologic/x-ray technology. Candidates who opt for the bachelor’s degree program will have to study for a duration of 4 years within which they will have to complete 120 credit hours at the very least. The easier and most commonly chosen path to be an x-ray technician is to take an associate degree in radiology/radiologic sciences from an accredited university which will let them enter the job market after 2 years.
The courses that are taught are extremely detail-oriented and require candidates to have physical strength/stamina, interpersonal skills, and technical skills that can help them in doing an excellent job. They will be dealing with subjects like physiology, psychology, anatomy, image production, etc within the course.
The program that the candidate chooses to go for must be accredited by JRCERT/Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. These courses that have been accredited will involve both course work and clinical work that will give the candidates a hands-on experience of the work they are going to do apart from the theoretical they will have to learn.
Certifications to be an X-ray Technician
Candidates who complete their x-ray technician program will have to get certified by their state mandatorily. The requirements for this certification changes from state to state. Candidates will then be able to take the ARRT/American Registry of Radiologic Technologists Certification voluntarily. For the primary application process, candidates will have to complete an ARRT-approved program after which they will also have to meet their ethics requirements. The primary application fee that they will have to pay is $200. Candidates will be able to take the examination and clear it within the next year of paying the fee.
Popular Colleges for X-Ray Technician Programs
The popular colleges that offer programs to be an x-ray technician are-
- Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Tuition Fee for Program- $11,111
- Harper College
Tuition Fee for Program- $17,277.25
- College of Eastern Idaho
- Ridgewater College
- City College of San Francisco
Tuition Fee for Resident- $46 per unit
Tuition Fee for non-Resident- $307 per unit
Places of Work
Candidates who become x-ray technicians mostly work in hospitals and clinics. They will be able to work in state hospitals, local hospitals, and even private hospitals. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, almost
- 67% of x-ray technicians work in hospitals,
- 18% work in medical and diagnostic laboratories,
- 14% work in the offices of physicians, and
- 3% work in outpatient care centers.
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the projected growth rate of jobs within radiology between the years 2029 to 2029 has been estimated to grow by 7%. This is faster than the average for most occupations. They also predict the availability of at least 14,200 openings for the post every year for the decade. Being an x-ray technician will therefore provide candidates with job options at all times.
X-ray technicians have to perform imaging examinations on patients using imaging equipment. They will have to adjust and maintain the equipment according to the illness of the patient. They will also have to prepare the patients for the procedure which can include briefing them about it and also collecting their medical history. Other tasks include positioning the patient correctly to get the desired image, working with physicians to analyze images, and even keeping patient records.
This is a work field where employees will be subject to risks since they have to deal with equipment that uses radiation. They will have to wear shielding devices to stay safe in such an environment. They will also have to be on their feet for prolonged durations which implies that only candidates that are physically fit will be able to do the job. The job is full-time in nature and it may be required of them to stay during emergencies including weekends.
The median salary estimate provided by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics for this job is $63,710 per year which amounts to $30.63 per hour.