Is Xray Tech a Good Career?

Considering a career in X-ray technology? Here’s what you need to know about the field, from job outlook to salary information.

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Job Description

An x-ray technologist, also called a radiographer, is a health care professional who uses specialized equipment to create images of the human body. The images are used by physicians to diagnose and treat patients.

What Xray Techs Do

Xray techs, also called radiologic technologists, are medical professionals who specialize in diagnostic imaging. Xray techs use x-ray machines and computed tomography (CT) scanners to take pictures of patients’ bones, organs, and other tissues. These pictures, called images, are then used by doctors to diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Xray techs must complete an accredited radiography program and earn a state license before they can practice. Most states require candidates to pass a national exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Some states also require candidates to pass a state-specific exam.

Xray techs usually work in hospitals, but they may also work in outpatient care centers, physician’s offices, and other medical facilities. Xray techs typically work full time, but some may work part time or on an as-needed basis. Xray techs typically work regular hours, but they may occasionally be required to work nights and weekends to meet the needs of their patients.

Xray techs must be able to stand for long periods of time and lift heavy objects such as x-ray machines. They must also be able to tolerate exposure to radiation. Xray techs must be detail oriented and have good interpersonal skills because they often work closely with patients who are experiencing pain or anxiety.

Work Environment

X-ray technicians, also called radiologic technologists, work in hospitals, medical offices and diagnostic imaging centers. They typically work full time, although some may work evenings or weekends. Many X-ray technicians have rotating shifts. An X-ray technician’s job is physically demanding and sometimes involves working in awkward positions. Moreover, X-ray technicians are exposed to potentially harmful radiation. To protect themselves and their patients, they must follow safety guidelines and use protective gear, such as lead aprons and gloves.

Education and Training

A successful career in radiologic technology starts with the right education and training. While you can learn some of the necessary skills on the job, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed an accredited radiography program.

How to Become an Xray Tech

Becoming an x-ray technician typically requires completing an accredited associate’s degree program in radiologic technology. Some employers may require or prefer candidates who have completed a bachelor’s degree program in radiologic science.

What Are the Certification Requirements?

To become a certified medical X-ray technologist, you must graduate from an accredited radiography program and pass a certification exam. You will then need to renew your certification every 4 years. Some states require licensure in addition to certification.

Salary and Job Outlook

The median salary for an X-ray Technician is $60,070 per year. Job growth for the X-ray tech field is projected at 11% from 2019-2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and the need for diagnostic imaging for various conditions are the main drivers of this growth.

What Is the Median Salary for an Xray Tech?

Medical X-ray technicians earn a median annual salary of $60,070, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019. The lowest 10 percent of earners brought home less than $40,410 annually, while the highest 10 percent of earners made more than $84,610.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for radiologic technologists is very good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of jobs for radiologic technologists will grow by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. This demand is driven by an aging population, as older people are more likely to require diagnostic imaging because of chronic diseases such as arthritis. In addition, advances in medical technology continue to create new opportunities for radiologic technologists.

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