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Become A X-Ray Technician

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Working As A X-Ray Technician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Getting Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $43,000

    Average Salary

What Does A X-Ray Technician Do

Radiologic technologists, also known as radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x rays, on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images. 

Duties

Radiologic and MRI technologists typically do the following:

  • Adjust and maintain imaging equipment
  • Precisely follow orders from physicians on what areas of the body to image
  • Prepare patients for procedures, including taking a medical history and answering questions about the procedure
  • Protect the patient by shielding exposed areas that do not need to be imaged
  • Position the patient and the equipment in order to get the correct image
  • Operate the computerized equipment to take the images
  • Work with physicians to evaluate the images and to determine whether additional images need to be taken
  • Keep detailed patient records

Healthcare professionals use many types of equipment to diagnose patients. Radiologic technologists specialize in x-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging. Some radiologic technologists prepare a mixture for the patient to drink that allows soft tissue to be viewed on the images that the radiologist reviews.

Radiologic technologists might also specialize in mammography. Mammographers use low-dose x-ray systems to produce images of the breast. Technologists may be certified in multiple specialties.

MRI technologists specialize in magnetic resonance imaging scanners. They inject patients with contrast dyes so that the images will show up on the scanner. The scanners use magnetic fields in combination with the contrast agent to produce images that a physician can use to diagnose medical problems.

Healthcare professionals who specialize in other diagnostic equipment include nuclear medicine technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists.

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How To Become A X-Ray Technician

Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists typically need an associate’s degree. Many MRI technologists start out as radiologic technologists and specialize later in their career. Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.

Education

An associate’s degree is the most common educational requirement for radiologic and MRI technologists. There also are postsecondary education programs that lead to graduate certificates or bachelor’s degrees. Education programs typically include both classroom study and clinical work. Coursework includes anatomy, pathology, patient care, radiation physics and protection, and image evaluation.

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredits programs in radiography. Completing an accredited program is required for licensure in some states.

High school students who are interested in radiologic or MRI technology should take courses that focus on math and science, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, and physics. 

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

MRI technologists typically have less than 5 years of work experience as radiologic technologists.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Requirements vary by state.

To become licensed, technologists must usually graduate from an accredited program, and pass a certification exam from the state or obtain a certification from a certifying body. Certifications for radiologic technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certifications for MRI technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and from the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT). For specific licensure requirements for radiologic technologists and MRI technologists, contact the state’s health board.

Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Radiologic and MRI technologists must follow exact instructions to get the images needed for diagnoses.

Interpersonal skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists work closely with patients who may be in extreme pain or mentally stressed. Technologists must be able to put the patient at ease to get usable images.

Math skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists may need to calculate and mix the right doses of chemicals used in imaging procedures.

Physical stamina. Radiologic and MRI technologists often work on their feet for long periods during their shift and they must be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.

Technical skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists must understand how to operate complex machinery.

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X-Ray Technician Career Paths

X-Ray Technician
Lead Technician Service Manager General Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager General Manager Chief Operating Officer
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
PRN Case Manager Clinical Social Worker
Chief Of Service
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Case Manager Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Technical Director Program Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Operations Manager Marketing Director
Community Relations Director
8 Yearsyrs
Computed Tomography Technologist Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Director Of Nuclear Medicine
8 Yearsyrs
Radiology Manager Director Of Radiology
Imaging Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Medical Technologist
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
CT Technologist MRI Technologist
Lead MRI Technologist
8 Yearsyrs
CT Technologist MRI And CT Technologist MRI Technologist
MRI Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Instructor Project Manager Vice President
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Nuclear Medicine Technologist CT Technologist Radiology Supervisor
Radiology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager General Manager
Regional Director Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Dental Assistant Phlebotomist Radiologic Technician
Senior Radiologic Technologist
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a X-Ray Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
X-Ray Technician 5.0 years
CT Technologist 4.9 years
Staff Technologist 4.9 years
Radiologist 4.5 years
X-Ray Operator 2.4 years
PRN MRI Technician 2.2 years
Top Careers Before X-Ray Technician
Internship 3.2%
Cashier 2.5%
Top Careers After X-Ray Technician
Technician 2.4%
Supervisor 2.4%
Manager 1.8%

Do you work as a X-Ray Technician?

X-Ray Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

60.3%

Male

38.2%

Unknown

1.5%
Ethnicity

White

60.6%

Hispanic or Latino

16.8%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.4%

French

3.2%

Korean

2.8%

German

2.8%

Hindi

2.8%

Mandarin

2.3%

Russian

2.3%

Italian

2.3%

Chinese

2.3%

Cantonese

2.3%

Vietnamese

1.9%

Tagalog

1.9%

Portuguese

1.9%

Marathi

1.4%

Urdu

1.4%

Arabic

1.4%

Cheyenne

0.9%

Ukrainian

0.9%

Armenian

0.9%

Amharic

0.9%
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X-Ray Technician Education

Schools

Weber State University

10.3%

University of Phoenix

8.7%

Midwestern State University

6.7%

Bergen Community College

6.3%

Keiser University

6.0%

Delgado Community College

5.5%

Emory University

5.5%

Ferris State University

5.0%

Lansing Community College

4.8%

University of South Alabama

4.3%

Middlesex County College

4.1%

Sinclair Community College

4.1%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.8%

Community College of Rhode Island

3.8%

Arkansas State University

3.6%

Tulsa Community College

3.6%

Pima Medical Institute-Online

3.6%

East Tennessee State University

3.4%

Adventist University of Health Sciences

3.4%

Community College of the Air Force

3.4%
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Majors

Medical Technician

40.6%

Nuclear And Industrial Radiologic Technologies

15.7%

Military Technology

7.0%

Business

6.1%

Medical Assisting Services

4.2%

Health Care Administration

3.3%

Nursing

3.0%

Health Sciences And Services

2.6%

Management

2.0%

General Studies

1.9%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.8%

Education

1.8%

Clinical Psychology

1.8%

Computer Science

1.4%

Biology

1.4%

Medicine

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.1%

Military Applied Sciences

1.0%

Psychology

1.0%

Criminal Justice

0.9%
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Degrees

Associate

35.9%

Other

23.8%

Bachelors

20.0%

Certificate

11.0%

Masters

5.9%

Diploma

2.2%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Top Skills for A X-Ray Technician

  1. Radiology
  2. Patient Care
  3. Digital X-Rays
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Adhere to radiology operational standards and organizational policies and guidelines governed by governmental and regulatory agencies.
  • Practiced patient care as well as performed contrast injections for CT, X-Ray and MRI procedures.
  • Performed and delivered digital x-rays images according to protocol.
  • Evaluated technical factors and regulated equipment factors, considering the physical distinctions in patients and created exposures essential for requested process.
  • Worked directly with the radiologist during fluoroscopy exams to provide diagnostic images.

How Would You Rate Working As a X-Ray Technician?

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