An X-ray technician is also known as radiographer or radiologic technologist. In this job, your task will be to conduct imaging examination and to produce x-ray films of various body parts of a patient. The x-ray films thus produced help doctors to do proper diagnosis.
You can work in diagnostic clinics or in hospitals. Many physicians also hire x-ray technicians in their private clinics. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for this job ranges from $55000 to $70000. Following is a brief rundown on the basic steps you must follow to become an x-ray technician.
Steps To Become An X Ray Technician
Acquire Educational Qualifications
The first thing you have to do is to obtain a 2-year associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiography. This associate’s degree course will train you on how to produce quality x-ray images using the least possible amount of radiation.
It will teach you about radiation protection standards and diagnostic imaging machine operation. The program covers a wide array of topics that include radiation safety, patient care, exposure techniques, patient positioning, physiology and anatomy.
Make sure that the associate’s degree program you enroll into is duly accredited by the JRCERT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology). This way, it will become very easy for you to find good employment opportunities immediately after completing the course. Remember, if the program is not accredited by JRCERT, you will not be able to appear in the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) certification test.
Most states require you to have one to three years of work experience before issuing you a license. Therefore, after completing the associate’s degree program successfully, you must also get clinical training in this field. Most hospitals and diagnostic clinics hire trainees.
The training provides you an opportunity to interact with medical professionals and to work with patients under the supervision of an experienced x-ray technician.
Once you have acquired at least one year of clinical training, you can appear in the certification exam run by ARRT. Unless you pass this exam, your state will not issue you a license.
The exam requires you to answer 200 questions on topics related to patient care, imaging procedures, image acquisition, equipment operation and radiation protection. The purpose is to ensure that you are qualified enough to perform medical imaging tests.
Maintain Your Certification
Once you obtain the ARRT certification, your state will issue you a license. You can then start working as a licensed x-ray technician.
But, it is very important for you to understand that both the license and the certification are valid for just two years. It is mandatory for you to pursue twenty-four hours of continuing educational programs every two years to maintain your license. These programs will keep you up-to-date with the latest developments in radiologic technology.
The continuing education programs also help you to advance in your career. Within one year, you can become an MRI or CT technician. With 4-5 years of work experience, you can even get an opportunity to become a radiologic instructor or to work on a supervisory position.