X-Ray Technician Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for X-ray technicians. Get the facts about salary, job duties, degree requirements and career outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an X-Ray Technician Do?

Often referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, X-ray technicians perform diagnostic imaging examinations for physicians and other licensed medical practitioners. Formal training is required to enter the field. Some of their duties include but are not limited to maintaining and operating the equipment, preparing patients for procedures, and keeping patient records. Other responsibilities may vary according to the size of the office. The table below can provide more career information.

Degree Required Associate's degree
Education Field of Study Radiography
Key Skills Technical proficiency, interpersonal, attention to detail
Licensure Licensure varies by state
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% (for all radiologic technologists)*
Average Salary (2015) $58,520 (for all radiologic technologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Programs Are Available for X-Ray Technician Majors?

Entry-level radiologic technologists and technicians must complete a certificate or associate's degree program prior to entering the field. Bachelor's programs are typically designed for students who are licensed to practice. As an X-ray technician major, you'll enhance your skill set and improve your chances for professional advancement. You may be able to specialize in a particular area, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), mammography or vascular imaging. Some subjects you might study include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Patient assistance
  • Anatomy and positioning
  • Imaging ethics
  • Image recording
  • Radiation basics
  • Pathology

Licensure is typically mandatory to work as a radiologic technician. Check with your state's health board to learn more about necessary requirements. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers a certification exam for graduates of a certificate or associate's program.

What Career Options Will I Have?

As a radiologic technician, you'll encounter many different types of patients, including children, adults and the elderly. You may find work in public health centers, physicians' offices or private hospitals. You'll be responsible for explaining the X-ray procedure to patients, protecting them from potentially harmful radiation by using lead aprons, and adjusting X-ray equipment or a patient's body to obtain usable diagnostic images. You'll also keep records and meet with physicians. You may be asked to make decisions regarding the repair or purchase of equipment.

What Could My Salary Be?

Yearly salaries vary for radiologic technologists depending on location. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Vallejo-Fairfield, CA, was the highest-paying metropolitan area in America at $102,970 (average salary) in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The top-paying states were California, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Hawaii with average salaries ranging from $69,100 to $76,070. The national average annual salary for radiologic technologists was $58,520 in 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Operating diagnostic equipment is important for all areas of medicine as it helps doctors assess many medical conditions. Cardiovascular sonographers and technicians also use special imaging equipment to create images and sometimes help during surgical procedures. Nuclear medicine technologists also create images of a patient's body by using radioactive drugs that they administer to the patients to make certain areas stand out in the images. Finally, radiation therapists administer radiation treatments to patients. All these roles require associate's degrees and have overlapping skill sets.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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