What Are the Duties of an X-Ray Technician?

An x-ray technician works with patients in a radiology environment, taking and assisting with x-rays. Since you are working with radiation, being aware of your duties and surroundings is a necessity. Keep reading to learn more about what an x-ray tech does in a medical environment. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

X-Ray Technician Duties

In addition to taking x-ray images, as an x-ray technician, you would be responsible for setting up an x-ray room and its equipment to prepare a patient for the procedure. If you are in an operating room with a doctor, you may be responsible for using a mobile x-ray machine. Following the doctor's orders, you would assure the needs of the patient are being met with regards to the x-ray that they need. You would also be responsible for maintaining all x-ray equipment.

Working with a doctor, you could also perform mammograms and sonograms. Once the images have been taken, you would also be responsible for processing and managing the films. On the administrative side of things, you work with patients to collect medical information, in addition to making appointments and managing patient records. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), technologists can specialize in x-ray, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or mammography (www.bls.gov).

Important Facts About This Occupation

Key Skills Math, technical, and interpersonal skills; attention to detail and physical endurance
Work Environment Healthcare facilities
Median Salary (2018) $59,520 (for radiologic technologists)
Similar Occupations Nuclear medicine technologist, radiation therapist, diagnostic medical sonographer

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

In most cases, an associate's degree or certificate will suffice for performing these duties, but you may complete a bachelor's degree in the field as well. Programs include both classroom and clinical training. As part of your program, you're likely to study:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Radiographic imaging principles
  • Patient care
  • Imaging equipment
  • Pathology
  • Radiation protection

Licensure Information

In addition to obtaining your certificate or degree, each state has its own requirements on licensing for x-ray technicians. Most states require that you graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam administered by your state or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Upon completion of your exam and earning your certification, you must renew it every year and complete a certain number of continuing education credits every two years.

Job Outlook

The BLS predicts that employment in this field could increase by 12% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the national average. If you specialize in a certain procedure, your job prospects will be improved.

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