As the medical sector grows leaps and bounds in the US, the demand for medical experts has also been rapidly increasing. One such area is that has witnessed a sharp rise is the department of radiology, especially the market for the job of an x-ray technician. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for x-ray technicians has experienced growth of almost 13% and continues to grow.
What is an x-ray technician?
An x-ray technician is a medical expert who works in the radiology department. They are in charge of taking x-ray images of a patient’s internal framework through radiographic imaging procedures. These images are then passed onto the doctors and physicians who use them to understand and analyze the severity of the patients’ condition and decide the necessary course of action.
Skills needed for the job of an X-ray Technician
To become a successful x-ray technician, you must have a combination of hard as well as soft skills. These may include:
Strong communication skills:
Communication skills are vital to the job of an x-ray technician. Working as an x-ray technician, you will constantly be communicating with the patients both verbally and non-verbally. You will be responsible for making the patient at ease before imagery, watching out for any signs of discomforts. Additionally, you will also be required to have a firm grasp of your written skills to document and manage patient records.
The art of managing time is crucial to anyone working within the medical profession. The job of an x-ray technician is no different. Here you will be working individually with patients and the other members of the radiology department. Hence being punctual, precise, and fast; while at the same time delivering accurate imaging is of vital importance.
Apart from having people skills, an aspiring x-ray technician should also be comfortable around x-ray machines. Part of the job involves maintaining the devices, troubleshooting minor issues and faults. Keeping both the engine and the films clean and germ-free is also one of the duties expected from an x-ray technician.
Education and Training Requirements:
To work as an x-ray technician, you need a bachelor’s degree in radiology along with some coursework in biology, physiology, or even physics and accreditation by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technologists (JRCERT).
Upon completion of the degree and passing the exam, one must then apply for radiology licensure based on the state’s requirements. Although an x-ray technician does not necessarily need any additional certification, opting for one directly impacts your future career prospects. Some of the most well known and accredited certifications include:
- The American Registry of Radiology Technicians Certificate (ARRT)
- Registered Radiology Assistant (RRA)
- Radiologic Technologist Mammography Certification
- Therapeutic Radiologic Technology Certification
As far as training is concerned, it is usually in internships or on-the-job training while working at an entry-level position.
What are the duties of an X-ray technician?
Some of the duties and responsibilities of an x-ray technician include:
- Scheduling and maintaining patient appointments.
- Part of the job of x-ray technicians also includes verification of patients and double-checking their physician’s orders.
- Explaining the x-ray imaging process to patients as well as answering all their queries and doubts
- Preparing and positioning patients according to the needs and specifications of the type of x-ray required
- Place lead shields on patients in order to limit their radiation exposure.
- Take x-ray images of patients’ tissues, organs, and bones.
- Check the x-rays images along with their image quality.
- To work in liaison with the resident radiologist etc.
- Pass the images captured to the resident radiologist to analyze and interpret them as well as preparing the necessary report of their key findings. These assist physicians in fully understanding the patient’s condition along with formulating a treatment plan accordingly.
- Part of the job of an x-ray technician is to take care of all x-ray equipment, machinery etc. This also includes regularly servicing them and ensuring that the machines are optimal.
- Consequently the x-ray technician must notify the management promptly if any machine is malfunctioning,
- Preparing solutions and washing x-ray films
- Documenting a complete record of all x-ray procedures conducted, equipment used, and follow-ups (if any)
- Maintain efficient disposal of any waste material
What salary can you expect on this job?
X-ray technicians aren’t just employed in hospitals. Some may work in an urgent care office or even private facilities. The salary that one can expect while working as an x-ray technician may depend on several factors. These include:
- Geographical location
Typically working as an x-ray technician, one can expect to earn approximately $25.87 per hour. However, according to statistics, the usual salary ranges from $7.35 to $58.35 per hour.