Would you like to operate cutting-edge medical technology? Have you always been fascinated by x-rays, MRIs, and other imaging technologies? If so, being an X-ray Technician could be your ideal career. Also known as Radiologic Technicians or Radiographers, X-ray technicians are responsible for conducting imaging procedures specified by a patient’s physician. They prepare patients for filming and operate x-ray imaging machinery. Precision is essential, as the X-ray Technician must position the radiologic equipment at the correct range and angle to obtain the best picture for purposes of diagnosis. This process requires extensive knowledge of both anatomy and imaging technology. Some Radiologic Technicians are trained to utilize even more advanced equipment such as MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CTs (Computerized Tomography), and others may perform complex tests like flouroscopies.
X-ray Technicians typically work in a radiology room within a medical clinic or hospital. Some physical demands are necessary since patients may be disabled and need to help positioning themselves for tests. Although some people may worry about radiation exposure, but the use of shielding and diagnostic technologies, along with stringent recording and regulation of cumulative exposure, have all but resolved this issue. Generally, X-ray techs work 40 hour weeks, though they may be on-call for emergencies at other times.
Programs in Radiologic Technology may last from 1 to 4 years. Most 1 year programs are accelerated certifications for Registered Nurses or other medical professional who wish to change careers. The most common career path is to attend a 2-year program in order to earn an Associates Degree, awarded by either university or career-oriented college. An Associates Degree is sufficient for securing a position as an X-ray Technician, while a Bachelors Degree in the field may open doors to administrative or supervisory work. Most programs are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiographic Technology, and licensing is required in 38 states at the present time.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the middle 50% of Radiographic Technicians was $32,000 to $46,500 in 2002. The median annual earnings were $40,000, and the top 10% made more than $55,400.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of X-ray Technicians will “grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012.” They also note that employers have been reporting difficulty in filling their openings for Radiologic Technicians, which indicates that opportunities for securing a position in the field are highly favorable.
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