How to Become an X-Ray Technician

It’s no coincidence that US News and World Report named Radiologic Technologists in its list of the Best Careers of 2011. The demand for x-ray techs is expected to rise as baby boomers age and require x-rays and other diagnostic images to monitor and diagnose a number of health conditions. In fact, the Bureau of Labor statistics expects the number of radiologic technicians jobs to jump 17 percent by 2018 - a number that’s much higher than average.

But what does this mean for you? The time is right to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves to x-ray techs. But how do you do it? Attend an x-ray technician school.


Training at X-Ray Technician Schools

While it’s true that some states (and the District of Columbia) allow x-ray techs to perform radiologic procedures without formal training, many states have specific x-ray school education and certification requirements. And depending on how things go with the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility, and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Bill (CARE Bill) that’s currently being discussed in the House and Senate, certification and education requirements could soon become national law.

Training at x-ray technician schools covers a number of topics techs can apply to their everyday x-ray technician jobs and tasks. Programs can last anywhere from one year to earn a certificate and up to four years for a bachelor’s degree. Those who go after bachelor’s degrees at x-ray tech schools often have their sites set on becoming supervisors or specialists.

Students at x-ray tech schools might study:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Patient Care
  • Radiographic Equipment and Techniques
  • The Physics of Radiation

The X-Ray Technician Salary

Where there’s demand, there’s a solid salary--and the x-ray technician salary is no exception. In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that radiologic technologists and technicians had an average salary of $54,180 across the country. Furthermore, the highest 10 percent of earners brought home more than $75,000. The industries that had the highest average salaries in 2009 included:

  • Scientific Research and Development Services
  • Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services
  • Employment Services

The states with the highest salaries for radiologic technicians (which includes x-ray technicians) according to BLS in 2009 were:

  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Maryland
  • Hawaii

Sound good? Your first step should be to research x-ray schools and programs in order to help you decide if you want to go after a certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree at x-ray technician school. Connect with potential schools and programs by browsing the x-ray technician schools directory, or search for programs in your state via the links below. Soon, you’ll be on your way to a growing career in the health care field, an x-ray technician.

What is X-Ray?

X-ray is a form of medical imaging that gives doctors and radiologists a peak at what's going on inside our bodies-without actually going in there. X-rays help diagnose broken bones, tumors, diseases like pneumonia, and more. Taken by trained x-ray technicians in hospitals and doctor's offices, x-rays are used by physician assistants, radiologists, and doctors to evaluate the health of the patient.

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