Do you want to become an x-ray technician? If so, you may probably asking what are the requirements and ways on how to become one. In this article, you will get information about the educational requirements, certification, and even employment outlook for this type of career.
An x-ray technician, also known as radiologic technician, is a trained healthcare worker who performs diagnostic imaging procedures. X-ray technicians have special skills of manipulating medical imaging machines to produce high quality x-ray images that enable doctors to diagnose and treat medical conditions.
The job of x-ray technicians is considered a very essential part of the medical field as the images they produce are necessary for diagnosing and treating the conditions of the patients. Additionally, they also play an important role in assisting and supporting the patients who may be concerned about their conditions. They may also be responsible in updating the records of their patients and maintaining the quality of performance of the medical equipment they use.
Becoming an x-ray technician is a very rewarding career, but before you can enter the field or get qualified for educational programs, you need to complete all the requirements needed for the degree first.
The first step is to obtain a high school diploma or GED to get accepted for admission to an x-ray technician program. Since most schools require a minimum score on entrance exam, a strong background in certain subjects, particularly in math, chemistry and physics are very essential. In some schools, applicants are required to take an additional course in medical assisting or related programs in order to get qualified for admission.
Once the above requirements are met, you have to enroll and complete a program for x-ray technician and take a licensure exam for this particular profession. There are different degree options to be able to practice this career. The first option is to earn a certificate in this particular area of discipline. Certificate programs are commonly offered by community colleges, technical schools, and vocational schools, and usually last between 21 and 24 months coursework.
The second option is the associate’s degree, which is the most prevalent degree in this type of field. Associate degrees are two-year programs that are commonly offered by technical schools, junior colleges, and community colleges. They are much more advanced than certificate programs and a great way to jumpstart your career because they are considered a minimum requirement for entering entry-level positions in this field.
The third option is the bachelor’s degree program, which is more advanced compared to the associate’s and certificate programs. Students who are enrolled in bachelor’s degree typically spend 4 full years to complete the requirements of the course. Bachelor’s degree programs are a great choice if you want to become more specialized in this particular area of study and increase your chance to get qualified for high paying offers.
Similar to other professions, getting an undergraduate degree in radiography (any of the mentioned above) is necessary to be able to qualify for practice. But you have to ensure that you enroll to a program that is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Passing the licensure exam given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is not mandatory to all states. You can learn more about ARRT license here. Some don’t require a license for employment, but others obliged the graduates to become certified.
Additionally, x-ray technicians are required to complete continuing educational requirements every two years to maintain their license as an x-ray technician.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The opportunities and earnings of x-ray technicians depend on their level of education and expertise. Definitely, the higher your education, the more advanced your duties and pay will be. Fresh graduates with certificate and degree diploma can expect an initial offer from $40,000 to $50,000 per year. And those who have an advanced degree and more experience may receive better offers and benefits. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for radiologic technicians and technologists will grow by 21 percent between 2012 and 2022.