As far as medical career go, the job of the X-ray technician has a mixed reputation. These professionals benefit from a lucrative salary but they’re exposed to various dangers. If you’re considering the career, you’re already familiar with the benefits of being an X-ray technician. In this article, we’ll take a look at the most important shortcomings and the reasons why the career choice isn’t necessarily the best one.
1. Occupational Hazards
Since X-ray technicians work with radioactive substances, there is some health risk. The protective gear used by these professionals has improved immensely over the past few decades. Still, there could be some exposure contributing to medical problems among these professionals.
Until the 1950s, X-ray technicians were exposed to significant amounts of radiation. This is the main reason why many of these professionals experienced medical conditions like skin, blood, thyroid, breast and cervical cancer.
Since then, the risk has been reduced significantly by the introduction of strict regulations and technological improvements. These new regulations make the annual radiation exposure that X-ray technicians deal with approximately five REM (which is about 10 times the background radiation that all of us are subjected to).
2. Changing Technology
In order to remain competitive, X-ray technicians need to continuously work on improving their qualifications. The equipment that these professionals work with is getting upgraded all the time. This is why an X-ray technician can’t simply rely on what’s been learned in school and call it a day.
The X-ray technicians that have experience in the use of other imaging equipment usually benefit from better professional opportunities than the ones that specialise strictly in the field of radiology. This is another factor to keep in mind when choosing courses and deciding about a career path in the medical field.
3. Physically Challenging Job
Radiology technicians spend most of their work day standing up and assisting patients.
Quite often, X-ray technicians may have to work with people experiencing serious medical conditions that limit their mobility. The X-ray technician will have to provide assistance in terms of lifting the patient, supporting them and adjusting the radiology equipment.
X-ray technicians need to be physically fit. Some of these professionals could experience knee and back problems as a result of the job’s physically challenging nature.
4. Possible Weekend and On-Call Hours
X-ray technicians that work in hospitals, clinics and emergency care facilities may have to deal with a tough work schedule. Depending on the demand for diagnostic images, such professionals may be required to come to work during the weekend. X-ray technicians are also to be available for on-call hours, which makes it difficult to establish the balance between professional and personal life.
There isn’t an awful lot of diversity in the job of the radiology technician. In the beginning, it will definitely be interesting working with the equipment and doing diagnostic imaging. As you get used to working on different body parts (limbs, chest cavity, abdominal organ region), you’ll find out that there isn’t an awful lot of diversity.
6. Other Diagnostic Imaging Professionals are Better Paid
There are diagnostic imaging jobs that are safer and much better paid. X-ray technicians, for example, earn less than ultrasound technicians.
An X-ray technician in the
In comparison, an ultrasound technician in the US earns a median annual salary of 57,933 dollars – more than 16,000 dollars over the average that X-ray technicians earn. The best-paid ultrasound technicians can expect to earn up to 80,983 dollars per year. In terms of hourly payments, the national median is 28 dollars per hour.
7. A Stressful Job
X-ray technicians have a very stressful job that can be emotionally-draining. Very often, they interact with patients that are seriously or terminally-ill. They have to interact with all kinds of people on a daily basis, which can be very tough for individuals that are too emotional.
The workload itself can also contribute to a very stressful job.
Keep all of these factors in mind when deciding about a job. X-ray technicians do enjoy a range of professional benefits but the career has shortcomings, as well. Assess the pros and cons, think about your priorities and use this information to make an informed professional decision.