What’s an X-Ray Technician and What does This Professional do?

The popularity of professions in the healthcare field is growing all the time. A growing and aging Western population is increasing the demand for quality medical services, which creates professionals stability for all experts employed in the field.

Interested in becoming an X-ray technician? Do you believe that this career path will give you the opportunities and the stability that you need? The following article will help you figure out whether this is really so and if the job of the X-ray technician is lucrative enough.

What’s an X-Ray Technician?

The medical X-ray technicians are responsible for taking diagnostic radiographic images. These images are also known as X-rays and they can help medical professionals identify a vast range of conditions that can’t be diagnosed otherwise.

During the diagnostic process, the X-ray technician is responsible for helping a patient keep their body in a certain position, manoeuvring and lifting patients that have mobility problems, making sure that a clear image has been captured and operating the radiographic imaging equipment.

You can already see that these professionals have serious responsibilities. In addition, their job could be physically-demanding depending on the medical facility and the types of patients that it works with.

Specifics of the Job

One of the numerous responsibilities of X-ray technicians is to determine the amount of radiation that will be needed to get an image without endangering the health and wellbeing of the patient. To do that, X-ray technicians need to have the right type of training and certification.

Very often, X-ray technicians are expected to communicate with anxious patients, explain the procedure and help these individuals calm down. Excellent communication skills, personal charisma and patience can make the life of the X-ray technician a whole lot easier.

The final specific of the job focuses on the safety of a professional that constantly works with radiation.

There are regulations and procedures that increase the safety of X-ray imaging for both the patients and the professionals administering the diagnostic process. The X-ray technician will also have to decide about personal safety gear. Very often, such professionals rely on gloves, aprons and shielding devices that reduce the exposure to radiation.

When X-ray technology started being used in the 1920s, there were absolutely no regulations and safety precautions. Current safety standard have reduced many of the risks stemming from the profession. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that some studies suggest that X-ray technicians have a higher risk of suffering from certain types of cancer than other medical professionals.

Career Outlook

Now that the risks and benefits have been addressed, it’s time to take a look at some numbers and the career outlook for X-ray technicians.

According to US Bureau of Labour Statistics information, the projected increase in the demand for X-ray technicians is expected to reach 21 per cent in the period until 2022. The increase is much more significant than the national average for all professions and it translates in more than 48,000 new workplaces for people that have the training and the skills.

Currently, X-ray technicians in the US earn a median annual salary of 42,160 dollars. Many of these experts aren’t employed full-time and they earn an hourly rate of 18 dollars. Some of the best and the most experienced X-ray technicians can expect to earn up to 40 dollars per hour.

Specialisation is one of the factors that have a serious impact on the salary. Some of the specialisation options that these professionals can opt for include mammography imaging, computer tomography and MRI and special procedures radiology.

X-ray technicians can be employed by numerous institutions. Some of the top-paying industries that employ such professionals include universities, scientific research facilities, specialty hospitals and even employment companies.

Education Requirements

A higher degree of education and courses that will enable specialisation give X-ray technicians better professional opportunities. In essence, education is of vital importance for enjoying professional stability.

A certificate program in radiological technology is the absolute minimum for entering the field. Many hospitals, colleges and online programs have such courses for the individuals interested in getting started with this profession.

A two year associate’s degree is the next logical step. On top of this education, interested individuals may pursue specialisation in one of the fields already mentioned (CT scans or mammography, for example). Such diversified skills and experience will make medical institutions more interested in employing a particular professional.

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