Get the scoop on what degree you need to be an X-Ray Technician, the job outlook for this career, and what you can expect to earn.
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X-Ray Technician Career Overview
health care. They may work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, or outpatient imaging centers. X-ray technicians take pictures of the inside of a patient’s body to help diagnose problems such as broken bones, tumors, and dental problems.
Most x-ray technicians have an associate’s degree in radiography, although some have bachelor’s degrees. Many community colleges offer radiography programs that can be completed in two years. These programs include coursework in math, science, and English as well as specific classes in radiography.
What Education is Needed to Become an X-Ray Technician?
An X-ray technician, also called a radiologic technologist, is a trained medical professional who uses imaging equipment to produce images of the human body for diagnostic purposes. X-ray techs must complete an accredited imaging program and obtain certification to practice. Some states also require licensure. Let’s take a look at the education requirements for this career.
Associate’s Degree in Radiologic Technology
If you want to become an X-ray technician, you will need to complete an accredited radiologic technology program. These programs typically take two years to complete and result in an associate’s degree in radiologic technology.
In order to be accepted into a radiologic technology program, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You may also need to complete basic courses in math and science prior to being accepted into the program. Once you are enrolled in the program, you will take classes in anatomy, physiology, medical ethics and radiology. You will also complete clinical rotations, during which you will gain hands-on experience working with patients.
Bachelor’s Degree in Radiology
The specific educational requirements to become an X-ray technician vary by state, but most states require that X-ray techs be licensed by the state in which they practice. In general, licensure requires the completion of an accredited radiology program and the passage of a state examination.
There are a number of different accredited radiology programs available, but the most common is a four-year bachelor’s degree in radiology. This type of program includes coursework in physics, math, biology, and chemistry, as well as specific courses in radiologic technology. Manyradiology programs also include clinical components that allow students to gain hands-on experience working with patients and X-ray equipment.
Once you have completed an accredited radiology program, you will need to take and pass a state licensure exam before you can begin practicing as an X-ray technician. Once you are licensed, you may need to renew your license periodically (usually every two years), and you may need to complete continuing education credits to maintain your license.
You need to have at least an Associate’s degree to work as an X-Ray Technician. Some employers may prefer you to have a Bachelor’s degree. If you want to specialize in a certain area, you may need to get a certification. For example, if you want to work in computed tomography (CT), you will need to get a CT certification.
ARRT certification is granted by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and is the most common credential held by practicing radiologic technologists. Although manyrad tech programs include coursework and clinical experiences that help students prepare for the ARRT exam, some states do not require certification for licensure. Certification through the ARRT requires completion of an accredited radiography program and passing scores on both a cognitive exam and a skills performance examination. The cognitive exam tests knowledge in various aspects of radiologic technology, while the skills performance examination assesses ability to perform common radiology procedures.
Most states regulate the practice of x-ray technologists and require licensure. Eligibility requirements for licensure vary from state to state but generally include completing an accredited x-ray technology program and passing a state-approved national examination. Some states may also require X-ray technologists to complete continuing education credits on a regular basis in order to maintain their license.
X-Ray Technician Salary and Job Outlook
The average annual salary for an X-ray technician is $52,120, or $25.10 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job outlook for these professionals is good, with an expected 15% growth in employment from 2016 to 2026. Most X-ray technicians have an associate degree in radiologic technology, although some jobs may require completion of a certificate program.