HOW TO BECOME AN X RAY TECHNICIAN
WHAT IS AN X-RAY TECHNICIAN?
X-ray technicians use imaging methods to visualize the inside of the body. The technology they use is constantly changing and helps to do a variety of functions with high accuracy. Here are a few things that people use x-ray technology to do.
- Diagnose illnesses
- Treat illnesses
- Find and diagnose injuries
- Determine the severity of injuries and/or illnesses.
X-ray technicians are very important to doctors and other medical professionals, as they “look inside” and see what you can’t see with the naked eye, which leads to the doctors and medical professionals being able to help more readily.
WHAT EDUCATION DO I NEED?
X-ray technicians (or radiologic technologists) need a high school diploma first, before even thinking about anything after that. If you are considering becoming an x-ray technician, take classes in computer science, the sciences, and math. These will help prepare you for your college education.
Currently, there are certificate programs in X-ray technology that last 6-12 months. This won’t be the case for long, as in 2015, technicians need to have at least an associate’s degree in x-ray technology. These degrees will give you a well-rounded education in the following topics:
- Complex interactions between radiation and tissue
- Intravenous (IV) drug administration
Most (not all) X-ray technology programs include an internship or some other sort of out-of-classroom training.
DO I NEED TO BE LICENSED?
No, but employers definitely prefer certified x-ray technicians during the hiring process. You can be accredited through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART) by taking an exam after you have received your certificate or degree (until 2015 when you have to have an associate’s degree or more.)
DO I NEED ANY OUTSIDE TRAINING?
X-ray technicians need to keep up with technology, and in order to do so, they may be required to attend conferences or receive continuing education. You are usually provided with this information through the AART or the medical network that you are employed through.
WHAT IS THE PRIMARY SKILL SET OF AN X-RAY TECHNICIAN?
There are a variety of skills that x-ray technicians have. Here is their primary skill set:
- Verbal communication
- Manual dexterity
- Interpersonal relationship skills
- Physical wellness and ability to deal with physical demands of the job
- Critical thinking
- Comforting and/or empathizing with others
- Will I be working with any specialized equipment?
As an x-ray technician, there are a variety of technological devices that you will be utilizing in order to do your job. Here are a few of them:
- Traditional X-ray machines
- Computerized axial tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Film and digital mammography
Most x-ray technicians are generalists, but if you work in a specific sort of office (oncology, obstetrician/gynecologist, head trauma, etc), you will receive on-the-job training in order to learn your specialization. There are not any “technical” specializations like in other fields of medical technology, but it will vary by your place of employment as to what you are specialized in.
X-ray technology is a great field to get into, and it’s worth the time invested in high school and during the earning of your associate’s degree. Consider x-ray technology as a potential medical field to go into, and doors will open for your future that you may have never considered before.