An x-ray technician works in health care facilities in the radiological department. X-ray technicians work with x-ray films that are produced by radiographs using radiation. The x-ray technician works directly with patients which is not the case with most other technician roles. The technician prepares the patient for the procedure and instructs the patient with what they need to do during the x-ray session, according to the requesting Doctor’s orders.
The technician also develops the x-ray and reports the result to the Doctor. X-rays are used to diagnose a disorder or illness that might result in an unhealthy condition. The technician also manages and maintains the x-rays and any other radiological tests, usually electronically. The technician that is familiar with different imaging techniques will have an advantage over the rest of the field.
Technicians will find employment in radiology centers, nursing homes, dental clinics and offices, physiotherapy centers, laboratories, hospitals and Doctor’s offices. The field of x-ray technician is growing, similar to other medical fields, as the demand for medical care continues to increase. The aging population and the vast changes in health care in general are two of the biggest reason why field of medicine is increasing.
X-Ray Technician Schools
The position of x-ray technician requires education beyond high school level. Programs can be found at community colleges and vocational training centers, colleges and universities. Some teaching hospitals offer technician programs of all kinds, including that of x-ray technician. Some technician programs offer a certificate of completion while others offer a degree. It is important to attend an accredited program as completion of an accredited program is a requirement when applying to be certified.
X-Ray Technician Requirements
Certification does not guarantee employment, however you’ll find plenty of x-ray technician jobs, and the certification will give the candidate the edge when it comes to being hired. Certification is the benchmark by which technicians are measured and it demonstrates your skills. It proves successful demonstration of the tasks involved and the knowledge required to do the job. X-ray certification also provides documentation of your career and the skills necessary for the position. Certification is renewable every two years and attending classes that offer continuing education units is a requirement.
X-Ray Technician Salary
Compensation and benefits for x-ray technicians is a step above those x-ray technicians who are not certified. The mean salary has dropped about 10% during the years of 2006 to early 2011 as a result of a fluctuating economy, but demand for x-ray technicians has increased and is a field that continues to grow. Benefits typically include, sick time, vacation time, health insurance, paid holidays, tuition reimbursement, 401(k) plans, bonuses and cost of living and merit based pay raises.
Technicians enjoy a standard 40 hour work week with overtime when necessary. Work shifts extend around the clock and over the weekend, and holidays. Sometimes performing x-ray duties is a 24 hour job. The field of x-ray technician comes with a level of risk. Long term exposure to frequent x-rays is found to be responsible for the development of certain cancers. It is essential the technician follow the proper safety protocols.