If you are considering a career as an x ray technician, choosing a school is an important first step. Options include online learning, community colleges, private schools, and even hospital programs. The four top x ray technician schools may require traveling to and living in a different part of the country for the two years it takes to earn your Associate’s Degree. Another very important aspect of school choice is accreditation. Be sure the school you choose will provide the necessary accreditation for the state(s) in which you plan to seek employment.
- If you feel there are no good schools in your area and you don’t want to or are unable to relocate, you might want to consider an on-line school. Keiser University is a well-known one, and it is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. A big advantage of online schools is the ability to do the work according to your own schedule rather than attending classes at specific times, but there is no face-to-face interaction with other students or your professors. Scholarships may be available to Keiser University.
- Carrington College has several locations in California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Their program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technologists (JRCERT). Grants, loans, and several Federal Student Aid programs are available with Carrington.
- If you are interested in living in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, take a look at Argosy University. Their College of Health Sciences has a Radiologic Technology Program. Accreditation information is not readily available on their website, so be sure to ask about this if you contact them.
- Learning your trade in an actual hospital setting rather than a college campus or through an online program may be very appealing. St. James Mercy Hospital School of Radiology in Hornell, New York, is one such program. It is very competitive in only admitting 14 students per class, and students work in a clinical setting. It is also accredited with JRCERT. St. James Mercy is affiliated with several other hospitals, which could be a great aid in obtaining a job at graduation.
These are 4 top x ray technician schools. Research any prospective school carefully, considering accreditation, cost, and help with employment upon graduation. Good luck!
A radiologic, or x-ray, technologist is essentially a medical photographer. Without diagnostic imaging, physicians would not be able to see key elements in the body. An x-ray tech snaps and develops the images that help diagnose patients. Understanding your role as an x-ray technician requires you to take a closer look at the world of radiology.
What is Radiology?
Radiology is a catchall term for imaging used to diagnose an illness or medical condition. Most lay people will associate this with the old-school x-ray, but professionals in this field use a variety of equipment. Other types of diagnostic imaging devices include:
- Computed Tomography – CT
- Nuclear Medicine
- Positron emission tomography – PET
- Magnetic resonance imaging
Understanding your Role as an X-Ray Technician
An x-ray technician manipulates imaging devices to get pictures that show different areas inside the body. The RT maintains the equipment and utilizes shielding tools to protect the patient and staff from unnecessary exposure to radiation. The technician must have a basic understanding of human anatomy and medical nomenclature. Once an image is made, the tech performs a review to ensure it is clear and distinctive enough to give the physician what he needs.
The role of the x-ray technician is not one of interpretation. Reading x-rays is left to radiologists and other medical professionals. A RT must be able to spot issues with an image, however. Part of the job is determining when a shot is clear enough to pass on or if there are artifacts on the image that interfere with its effectiveness.
A skilled technician can also spot emerging problems in an x-ray. When looking at the image, the tech may see something that needs immediate attention. The imaging professional must know when it is necessary to alert other healthcare team members to an emergency.
Radiologic technicians work in hospitals and imaging centers. They train for two years at an accredited school to receive an associate’s degree in the field. In order to get employment, the technician must obtain licensing from the state. The exact requirements for employment vary by location.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the field of radiologic technology is growing at a better than average rate. They predict the job opportunities will increase by 28 percent over the next few years. Anyone interested in advancing technology will find the role of x-ray technician rewarding.
X ray technicians, also known as radiologic technologists or radiographers, are responsible for helping patients through the x ray process and operating the machinery. They may have to help the patient position themselves for an x ray procedure, remove any jewelry that would inhibit the procedure, and work with the patients’ physicians to communicate the results and to ensure that the patients receive the proper x ray examinations.
Most x ray technicians work in medical offices such as private practices, hospitals, nursing homes, or dentist offices. For those who work in private practice facilities, a typical schedule is usually forty hours per week during business hours. However, many other x ray technicians, especially those who work in hospitals or emergency health centers, work irregular hours and may work overnight shifts or on weekends. Some x ray technicians also work part-time and may be responsible for transporting equipment to and from a patient’s home if they are unable to visit a health facility.
Due to the nature of the work, x ray technicians must be comfortable with heavy lifting and operating heavy machinery. Disabled patients may require extra care when receiving an x ray, including manual positioning of their bodies in order to get an effective reading. X ray technicians must also be able to strictly adhere to guidelines for operating the machines, as improper use may result in overexposure to radiation for both the technician and the patient.
Most educational programs for x ray technicians take anywhere from 21-24 months, usually culminating in an associates degree. Acceptable programs must be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, which has programs available different levels, including bachelors degree programs. These training programs include coursework related to radiobiology, pathology, patient care practices, safety, medical terminology, and medical ethics. This coursework, in addition to hands-on training, is an excellent way to learn about x ray technology and safety practices. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists also offers voluntary certifications for x ray technicians that could be useful in searching for jobs in the future.
Prospective x ray technicians are entering a job market with increasing openings for trained professionals. Those who have several years of job experience or extra technical skills, such as CT, MR, or mammography, will have better luck in the job market. Typical salaries for x ray technicians range anywhere from $48,000 to $55,000 per year, depending on experience, skills, and training. In addition, medical and diagnostic laboratories are more likely to offer higher salaries than are private practice physicians.
X ray technicians are medical professionals who have been specifically trained to operate x ray machinery to take pictures of the inside of the human body.
What are the job duties of an x-ray technician?
The primary job duty is to take x-ray films and keep the patient as comfortable as possible. More specific tasks include positioning the patient appropriately, positioning the equipment correctly, loading and unloading films, developing the films, reassuring the patient, and using the proper equipment to protect both himself and the patient from radiation. The technician must also maintain accurate records, communicate with physicians, and maintain the equipment in good working order.
What are the job prospects for an x-ray technician?
For newly qualified x-ray technicians, job prospects are good. Demand for x ray technicians is expected to grow faster than for the average career, especially as the growing and aging U.S. population requires more medical services like diagnostic imaging. In addition, the increasing emphasis on outpatient care is creating a greater need for imaging services and x ray technicians.
Where can I find x-ray technician employment?
The traditional, and largest, employer is hospitals.
Medical facilities outside of hospitals are also hiring more x ray technicians to administer their growing services, including:
• Diagnostic imaging centers
• Physician’s offices
• Physiotherapy centers
• Research and development
For an x-ray technician, employment outlook is even better if you specialize in CT, MRI or mammography, or if you are willing to relocate.
How much does an x-ray technician make?
There is some disagreement in these figures. According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, the national median salary for an x ray technician is $58,000 annually. The 2006 Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a medial annual salary of $48,170; the top 10 percent made nearly $69,000 a year and the bottom 10 percent earned under $33,000 each year.
The exact salary may vary depending on the type of workplace. The Bureau also noted that an x ray technician working in laboratories made, on average, over $51,000 annually. Technicians in hospitals made almost $49,000 a year, and those in doctors’ offices made just $45,500.
Techs who are also trained in other imaging procedures, as mentioned above, have more earning and advancement potential. And, of course, the salary amount will also depend on where in the country you are working and on the local cost of living.
How many qualified x-ray technicians are currently employed in the U.S.?
In 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that there were 196,000 x-ray technicians working in the U.S. This number is expected to increase by roughly 15 percent by 2016, to over 225,000.
There are many people that love the idea of engaging in a helping career but hate the idea of spending nearly a decade studying to earn a medical degree. Fortunately, there are many healthcare careers that require less than a four year degree but provide an excellent opportunity for employment and earning. Among these careers is that of radiology technician, a field that allows an individual to work with those experiencing health related problems.
It’s important for any healthcare provider to have excellent skills in working with people. In the case of the radiation technician, there is close contact with patients, oftentimes in the midst of distressing circumstances. It’s important for the radiation professional to be able to communicate effectively and compassionately. While many individuals in this field of practice will serve their patients by taking x-ray images, others will serve in the area of radiation therapy. In each case, specialty skills are needed.
In order to pursue a career in radiology, an individual needs to obtain specialized training. It is possible to attend vocational institutions or community colleges that provide associate of applied sciences degree in radiation technology, with course work involving between two and four years of study time, depending on the specific program offered by the institution. Many students are able to use federal financial aid to assist in paying for their education at this level. Additional institution and community scholarships can assist a student in managing educational costs. Pre-requisites are often required in general education courses before a student is eligible to enroll in a radiology program of study.
Course work generally includes both academic and clinical studies. Clinical experience is an integral part of any health related profession. Upon completing the requirements for earning a radiology degree, a student may take national exams in order to obtain radiologic technologist certification. Career opportunities in the field of radiology are varied, and a student successfully completing the studies for obtaining certification should consult with the advisement department of their institution for assistance in arranging interviews, developing a resume, and preparing for finding a job. There are often radiology positions available in private practices and clinics. Public hospitals provide another interesting avenue for career options in the field. Many will find oncology related opportunities in radiation therapy.
Radiation technicians are able to earn a substantial income without having to pursue post-graduate studies. An associate of applied sciences degree provides the opportunity to become certified and employed in less than four years, allowing motivated students to move into the workforce quickly.
A radiologist is an important member of a patient’s medical team, ranking up there with the primary care physician.
When a patient’s primary care provider wants confirmation of his diagnostic suspicions of his patient’s illness, he refers the patient for diagnostic imaging tests. While a qualified radiologic technician may perform the actual tests, it is the radiologist’s job to interpret the test results and provide the original doctor with a diagnosis of the patient’s illness.
A radiologist must be very detail-oriented and 100 percent accurate with his diagnosis. If the radiologist makes the wrong diagnosis, then the primary doctor may prescribe the wrong treatment for the patient’s condition and could possibly put her in a life-threatening situation. Sometimes the radiologist may perform procedures, such as inserting drainage tubes in gall bladder patients or administering radiation treatments to cancer patients.
A radiologist is a physician who has completed four years each of medical school and a residency. After this, he may take another year of training in a specialty such as mammography or neuroradiology. Before he can practice, though, a radiologist must be licensed by a state to practice medicine and pass a board certification exam in radiology. Since radiologists are normally affiliated with hospitals, he must be credentialed by a hospital.
A radiologist must be very computer literate, since he will be working with computers and computerized equipment on a daily basis. A mechanical aptitude also is necessary to operate sophisticated imaging equipment.
Thanks to modern technology, a radiologist does not need to be physically located at the facility where the testing was done. Through computerization of images, a radiologist in California can read and interpret results of tests taken in another state. A radiologist could also work from home if his computer is connected to the test facility’s network.
The job outlook for radiologists is good, with the demand for radiologists to grow faster than average, by a minimum of 20 percent through 2020, the federal government says.
Radiologists earn very attractive salaries, with annual wages ranging between $268,000 and $494,000 before benefits, such as ample vacation are considered. In comparison, a general practitioner earns a salary between $138,000 and $223,000 annually. As with any job, a radiologist’s salary depends on education, specialty, experience, geographic location and the size and type of the medical facility he works for.