Career Options for X-Ray Technicians

You’ve obtained a degree in X-ray technology and now you’re wondering about the career opportunities ahead of you? Obviously, individuals having this kind of education can become X-ray technicians. Several other possibilities exist, as well.

Thinking about these possibilities and the ones that you find most attractive is of uttermost importance right from the start of your career. Depending on the professional path that you’d like to take, you may have to go through a few additional learning courses. Here are some of the top career options for X-ray technicians and the requirements for getting started with each.

Radiology Technician or Technologist

This is the first and most obvious opportunity for individuals that have either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in the field of radiologic technology. Technicians are the ones that work with patients and X-ray imaging equipment. Their job is to help the diagnostic process by capturing a clear image of internal organs, bones or systems.

As already mentioned, the entry-level education requirement for the field is an associate’s degree. These professionals enjoy significant workplace stability and the demand for radiology technicians is expected to grow by 21 per cent in the period until 2020.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

A diagnostic medical sonographer is a professional that is capable of working with specialized imaging equipment. The equipment uses high frequency sound waves for the purposes of creating images of internal organs and bodily systems.

Diagnostic medical sonographers are better paid than X-ray technicians, which is why many young professionals are interested in the field. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median annual salary of medical sonographers is 60,350 dollars per year in the US .

An associate’s degree is needed to get started with a career in the field. People that already have a degree in radiologic technology may pursue further certificates that will enable work with the specialized sonography equipment.

The stability and professional outlook for the field are also exceptional. The demand for medical sonographers is going to increase by 39 per cent in the years till 2020. This is one of the highest increases among all fields, including professions in the medical sector.

Radiation Therapist

This is another lucrative opportunity for the individuals that have a degree in X-ray technology. Becoming a radiation therapist, however, will require furthering your education and becoming certified.

A radiation therapist is a healthcare professional that works with cancer patients. These professionals are responsible for choosing and administering radiation treatments for the recovery of individuals suffering from oncological conditions.

Radiation therapists earn a median annual salary of 77,560 dollars per year. A person that has an associate’s degree in X-ray technology should pursue a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy to become eligible for the job. In addition, each state has specific certification requirements for these experts.

The number of job openings available for radiation therapists in 2012 was 19,100 and the increase until 2020 is expected to reach 24 per cent.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Another career path that X-ray technicians may choose, this one involves working with scanners to produce accurate images of various internal organs and systems. In addition to being responsible for the imaging process, nuclear medicine technologists will also have to prepare the radioactive drugs that patients will need to take for maximum scan clarity.

Professionals will require a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology to start practicing. Some states also have licensing requirements for the nuclear medicine technologists.

When it comes to salaries and career outlook, this is another lucrative professional opportunity for X-ray technicians. A nuclear medicine technologist earns a median annual salary of 70,180 dollars per year, Bureau of Labour Statistics data suggests. The hourly payment is 33.74 dollars.

In 2012, there were 20,900 positions for professionals in the field of nuclear medicine technology. The increase in demand by 2020 is expected to reach 20 per cent, creating 4,200 additional workplaces.

These are just some of the careers that people having radiologic technology training can pursue. A few additional opportunities exist, as well. These include becoming an MRI technician, CT technologist or a cardiovascular technologist. The requirements for practicing such jobs will vary from state to state. Having a good idea about what the process is going to entail will be the key to choosing one profession within the imaging (or radiology) field or another.

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