An x-ray technician, also referred to as radiologic technologist or radiographer, produces an x-ray film for use in determining a diagnosis. Although the majority of x-ray technicians work in hospital settings, many diagnostic clinics and physicians' offices are also hiring staff technicians. Read on to learn more.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Professional certification (optional)
- Associate or bachelor's degree in radiology
- High school diploma or GED
Enter training to become an x-ray technician if you have a high school diploma or a GED. Math and science classes in high school are essential for entering a radiologic program.
Expect formal training programs to vary in length between 1 and 4 years. While the 2-year associate degree is the most popular choice, other options include a bachelor's degree or a certificate of completion of the program.
Expect to study radiation protection, pathology, patient care procedures, medical ethics and principles of imaging as part of the curriculum to become an x-ray technician. It is necessary to have an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body in order to produce accurate imaging for diagnostic purposes.
Locate training to become an x-ray technician in colleges, universities, vocational institutes and in some hospitals. See the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology website for a list of accredited radiography programs (see Resources below).
Go through the process to become certified. While certification is voluntary, it tells employers that you have attended an accredited program and you have passed an exam offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Some facilities and physicians will hire only certified technicians.
Exhibit qualities such as the ability to work as a team member, manage complicated equipment and pay attention to detail. You should also be skilled at providing a sense of safety and concern for patients.
Advance to a supervisory position or become an instructor in a radiologic program after experience and additional training have prepared you for this move.
Enroll in a program to specialize your skills as an x-ray technician. Making the change from an experienced x-ray tech to a CT or MRI technician is usually possible within 1 year.
Tips and warnings
- Twenty-four hours of continuing medical education units are required to be completed every 2 years to be re-certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists as an x-ray technician (see Resources below).
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