What Degree Does an X Ray Tech Need?

Considering a career in radiologic technology? Find out what degree you need to become an X-ray tech, along with information on job outlook and earnings.

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The Different Types of X Ray Tech Programs

There are many schools that offer programs for those who want to become an X Ray Technician. The type of degree that you need depends on the state that you want to work in and the employer that you want to work for. Some states require you to have an associates degree, while other states will accept a certificate or diploma.

Two-year programs

Techs who want to earn an associates degree can do so by attending a two-year program at a community college or technical school. In addition to completing general education requirements, students in these programs take classes in anatomy, physiology, algebra, and other sciences. They also complete clinical rotations in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, which give them the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world settings.

Four-year programs

A four-year degree in radiologic technology may be right for you if you want to work in management or as a lead technologist in your X-ray department. Alternatively, if you wish to pursue a research career or teach radiologic technology at the collegiate level, this route may be best. Some four-year programs also offer specializations, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The Different Types of X Ray Tech Degrees

There are generally two types of x-ray tech degrees: the two-year associate’s degree and the four-year bachelor’s degree. The associate’s degree takes about half the time to complete as the bachelor’s degree and will prepare you for most entry-level positions in the field. The four-year degree will go into more depth with coursework and will better prepare you for management positions or working in a more specialized area of radiology.

Associate’s degree

An Associate’s degree in radiologic technology generally takes two years to complete, although some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months. This degree can be earned at many community colleges as well as some 4-year schools. Once you have completed an accredited program and earned your Associate’s degree, you will be eligible to take the national certification exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology typically takes four years to complete, although some programs may be completed in three years. Bachelor’s degree programs generally include coursework in math, science, and liberal arts, as well as specialized courses in radiologic technology. Upon completing a bachelor’s degree program, students are eligible to take the national exam to become a Registered Radiologic Technologist (RRT).

The Different Types of X Ray Tech Certifications

There are many different types of x ray tech certifications, but the most common one is the Certified Radiologic Technologist (CRT). The CRT requires a two-year degree, and it is the most popular type of certification. The other two types of x ray tech certifications are the Registered Radiologic Technologist (RRT) and the Certified Radiology Assistant (CRA).

ARRT certification

The first certification that you need to become an X-ray tech is called the ARRT certification. This is a credential that is offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, and it is the most common certification in the field. To be eligible for this credential, you must have completed an accredited X-ray tech program and passed the ARRT exam. Once you have this credential, you need to renew it every two years by completing 24 credits of continuing education.

state certification

State certification is not required in all states, but some employers prefer or require it. The requirements for state certification vary, but they usually include completing an accredited X-ray technician program and passing an exam. Some states have additional requirements, such as passing a background check or completing a certain number of continuing education credits.

The Different Types of X Ray Tech Jobs

There are many different types of X ray tech jobs. The most common is working in a hospital setting, but there are also many opportunities to work in private clinics, imaging centers, and even in mobile units. X ray techs may also specialize in computed tomography (CT), mammography, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Hospital X Ray Technician

While many people think of X-ray techs as working exclusively in hospitals, this isn’t always the case. Many X-ray tech jobs are found in private medical practices, clinics, and even stand-alone imaging centers. The work environment is usually fast paced and sometimes stressful, but most techs find the work to be both personally and professionally rewarding.

Most X-ray techs work full time, but some jobs may require evening or weekend hours. Many techs also find that they are able to work part time or on a per diem basis once they have established themselves in the field.

The job outlook for X-ray techs is good, with an expected job growth of 9% between now and 2024.* This growth is attributed to an aging population (which will need more diagnostic imaging) as well as advances in technology (which will require more trained technicians to operate the new equipment).

Mobile X Ray Technician

A mobile X ray technician is an X ray tech that works in a mobile unit. These units are used in a variety of settings, from construction sites to ships and more. Mobile X ray techs often have a wide range of duties, from performing X rays to stocking medical supplies.

The Different Types of X Ray Tech Salaries

The typical X-Ray Technician salary is quite high. In the United States, an X-Ray Technician can expect to earn an average salary of $64,000 per year. This is significantly higher than the average for all occupations, which is $36,000 per year. There are a number of factors that can affect an X-Ray Technician’s salary, including experience, education, and certification.

Hospital X Ray Technician

The median annual salary for hospital X-ray technicians was $54,340 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The middle 50 percent of hospital X-ray techs earned between $44,760 and $64,920 per year. The top 10 percent of hospital X-ray techs earned more than $77,580 annually, while the bottom 10 percent made less than $37,020 each year.

Mobile X Ray Technician

While the average salary for all X-ray techs is just over $60,000 per year, mobile X-ray techs earn a median salary of $66,150. That’s nearly 10% higher than the industry average, making it a great career choice for those looking to start their X-ray tech career or switch to a mobile role.

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