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How To Become A X Ray Technician: Important Things To Know


As the population grows, the need for medical services also increases. It is no wonder that the health and medical industry is in constant need not only of medical professionals, but also of medical equipment specialists. Among the most in-demand professionals today and in the coming years are Radiologic Technologists. If you want to have a career in this profession, it is important to learn how to become a  XRay Technician and what to expect when you have already become a radiologic technologist.

Becoming A X Ray Technician

The most common educational passageway for X Ray Technicians is an associate's degree. There are formal training programs that last for 6 to 12 months wherein you will get a certificate, and there are those that require four years of studying for you to have a bachelor's degree. Usually programs or courses include classroom instructions and clinical training. You will have to learn about anatomy, patient care, pathology, image evaluation, and radiation physics and protection.

It is recommended to enroll in schools accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. In most states, radiologists are required to have a license. A license can only be obtained if you have finished a course recognized by JRCERT. If you are a high school student and you want to tread this career path in the future, you should focus on math and science. Other courses that can prepare you for jobs in this field are physics, physiology, chemistry, biology and anatomy.

Depending on where you live, you will find a number of universities or colleges that offer courses in radiology. If you aim to become a tech after studying for just a short period of time, it is recommended to get a course that will grant you certification. If you plan to become a full time student, you can go for a bachelor's degree. It is essential to learn about the requirements on the state where you want to work because licensure requirements vary per state.

What X Ray Technicians Do

The main responsibility of radiologic technologists is to perform x rays on patients. They also take care of the equipment so that they are running smoothly. They must take orders and capture images according to the specifications of the physicians. Sometimes, they also prepare patients for the procedure so they may take a patient's medical history. They are also required to explain the procedure to the patient.

Moreover, a technologist should protect the patients, particularly their exposed body parts, from radiation. This is done by shielding the exposed body parts. X ray techs must position the patient and the machine correctly to get the best results. They should operate the equipment to get the image and read it to determine if other images need to be taken. After taking the image, techs will keep the records of their patients.

There are different kinds of diagnostic equipment to diagnose patients and radiologists are required to learn about them. Most of the time, x ray technicians will also have to deal with other machines such as magnetic resonance imaging and computer tomography. Moreover, techs can also have specialization in mammography, wherein low doses of x ray are used to produce breast images. An x ray technician must have multiple certifications before working on equipment other than x ray machines.

Salary

According to the United State Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary of xray technicians is $54,340. The highest earning x ray techs receive more than $76,580. Most x ray technicians work full time and because imaging is required during emergencies, xray techs are required to work overtime, during the weekends and in the graveyard shift. Also, they are always on call. It is important to note that the salary of x ray techs depends on the state where they work. The salary also depends on the work condition and the demand for the profession in the job market.

Work Environment

Xray technicians primarily work in healthcare facilities. Like other medical professionals, techs are also exposed to contagious diseases. For long periods of time, techs need to be on their feet. They may also need to assist in lifting disabled patients. Majority of xray technicians work in private, local, and state hospitals. Twenty-one percent work under physicians who have their own clinics. Nine percent work in medical and diagnostic laboratories, 3% work in outpatient care facilities and 2% work for the federal government.

It is important to note that the profession involves hazards such as radiation. Nevertheless, the risks are minimized by using protective clothing such as gloves, lead aprons and other devices that can act like shields. They also use instruments that gauge radiation, particularly their exposure to a radioactive field. Xray technicians wear these badges hat determine the level of radiation in an area. They also keep records of their cumulative doses of radiation exposure throughout their life.

Job Outlook

Employment for x ray technicians is expected to increase up to 28% starting in 2010 until 2012. Compared to other professions, this growth is faster. The primary factor for the increase in employment is the aging population. The elderly have more health conditions such as fractures and breaks due to bone disorders such as osteoporosis. Images will be required for the physicians to treat these conditions. X ray technicians will be employed to use and maintain x ray equipment.

Hospitals will definitely remain as the main employers for x ray techs. But the number of physicians who set up their own private clinics is predicted to grow as well. That means that techs will find employment in places other than hospitals. There will be a major shift to outpatient care within the decade so the demand from private medical facilities is likely to increase. That is because outpatient care is offered by third party clients because of its cost effectiveness. The reduced cost of healthcare can be attributed to advanced and less expensive technology.


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