Among the many career paths that you can choose to pursue, one of them is becoming an X-ray technician. Sometimes it is referred to as X-ray technologist. Your attraction to this career path could be motivated by the desire to work in the health industry. You want to leave a positive mark on people’s lives and health.
Other than serving people, you may be attracted by the financial stability that this job offers. Probably you have heard that X-ray technicians earn a good salary and that is what you want. So, you hope that this job will help you achieve your financial goals.
Even while having the financial aspects of the job in your mind, it will be prudent to understand everything about the X-ray technician job. The information will be vital to help you know whether the job is worth the effort that you are planning to put.
Read on as we give you all the essential information about the X-ray technologists, including the salary range of the X-ray technologists.
Where can I find data about X-ray technician salary?
There are many sources of information about the salary of an X-ray technician. Some of the sources are open to the public while others are restricted to certain individuals.
The source of the information will also depend on your country. You can visit the relevant department of labor in your country and find out how much salary the X-ray technologists earn. If you are in the USA, simply visit the Department of Labor website and search with the job title “X-ray technician.” You will be able to see the salary range of this job in different states.
Another accurate and reliable source of information is from practicing X-ray technicians. Here you need to ask for directions from some of the technicians in your area. This is vital especially if you intend to work in the locality.
However, you should be courteous while approaching them to ask this question. Just be polite and they will give you the relevant information about their salary range. They will also give you additional information on what you should do to earn the highest salary as an X-ray technologist.
Also, try to ask different X-ray technicians who have different years of experience and even job levels. From this data, you will know the starting salary of the X-ray technician and also how much you will earn when you reach the peak of your career as an X-ray technologist.
How much do X-ray technicians earn?
According to the statistics that were published in 2019, the median annual salary of an X-ray technician was approximately $60,000. This figure was reached after collecting data from different X-ray technicians who have varying levels of training and experience.
From the data, it was discovered that X-ray technologists who work on different imaging types beyond the X-ray earned higher salaries. By this, we mean those who worked on magnetic resonance imaging.
Also, the statics reveals that the technicians who worked with the federal government earned higher salaries than those who worked for the private facilities.
Also, keep in mind that the salary range of the radiologists depends on the states where you work. You can earn a higher salary in some states than in others. Here is data on the x-ray technicians’ salary range for different states.
What are the Job Duties of X-ray Technician?
Since you want to be a radiologist, let’s give you a glimpse of the tasks that you will be expected to carry out as part of your job. They include:
- Operate the X-ray equipment: This is the primary role of X-ray technology. Their work is to operate the equipment when taking X-ray images. The technician knows all the basic and detailed aspects of the X-ray machine and will handle it professionally to get quality images.
- Check and inspect the equipment: As the technician, it will be your responsibility to check out the X-ray machine and ensure that it is in perfect working condition. This is to ensure that the equipment can take quality images of the objects.
- Verify the imaging requested is appropriate: X-ray imaging is used for generating different types of images. As an X-ray technician, your task will be to ensure that the imaging that is taken is appropriate to the specific goal. For example, if you want to check a broken bone, the X-ray should not focus on the soft tissue injury.
- Calculate the radiology dosage: the working mechanism of the X-ray entails emitting of the radio radiations. It is the work of the technician to review a patient’s chart and make calculations to determine the dosage of the radiation that will be used. The equipment will be modified to operate on that dosage.
- Prepare the patient for X-ray imaging procedure: In some facilities, X-ray technicians are responsible for preparing the patients for the radio imaging procedures. The preparation can entail application of the intravenous medications or oral medications on a patient. One of the reasons for these preparations is to improve the quality of the image to be processed.
The preparations are also for safety reasons where you want to protect the patient from the effects of radiation. They are also vital in case the patient is physically disabled in one way or another. The technician will ensure that the target section is captured regardless of the state of the patient.
- Take care of the patient’s safety: In most cases, a patient’s safety during the X-ray imaging is in the hands of a technician. A radiology technologist should ensure that all safety procedures are followed. For instance, they should ensure that the patient is properly positioned during the X-ray imaging process. The technician may consider using other safety equipment and protective clothing that will shield the patient from dangerous radiation.
- View and analyze the image: It is the work of the radiological technologists to view the images after an X-ray session to ensure that they meet the required quality standards. However, they rarely make a diagnosis as this is the work of the relevant doctors who requested the radio imaging.
Example of a typical day in the life of an X-ray technician
To bring the above tasks and responsibilities into a better perspective, X-ray technicians are likely to do some of the activities in a typical working day.
- Inspecting the X-ray equipment to ensure that is ready for work. They also take note of any damages to the equipment.
- Hand over the gown to a patient before they are put on the X-ray machine
- Preparing patients for the X-ray imaging procedure.
- Operate the X-ray machine
- Review the images that have been taken by the X-ray machines for accuracy and clarity
- Redoing and adding more images to create views from different angles.
- Cleaning the X-ray equipment after use. They also clean other equipment that has been used in a session.
- Disposing off the medical gown or carefully putting it for laundry
Where do X-ray technicians work?
X-ray imaging systems have a wide range of applications. This implies that the technologist will work in any field in which X-ray equipment is used for imaging.
Most aspiring radiologic technologists expect to work in hospitals and other medical facilities. There is no doubt that this is the most popular working area for X-ray technicians. You can work in different health departments.
You can work in either a private or public healthcare facility. You will discover some disparity between those who work at the two types of facilities. The working condition and benefits may also differ.
You also have an option of working in hospitals that specialized in children or a specific group of patients. Some X-ray technicians opt to specialize in oncology clinics. These are health facilities that cater to cancer treatment.
Where you work matters when it comes to evaluating the X-ray technician’s salary. This is because some places of work attract a higher pay range than others. For example, the salary for an X-ray technician at the oncology clinic may be higher than that of a technician working at the general clinic.
You may also be presented with the option of working in mobile X-ray labs. These are facilities that provide X-ray imaging services from different locations.
The salary factor is just among the many other issues that you should consider when deciding on where to work as an X-ray technologist.
What is the educational requirement for the X-ray technologist?
Like in many other career paths, it all starts with the academic requirements. The academic requirements may vary from one state to another or even among the employers. However, the very basic requirement is a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree in the relevant field.
Here are the proven steps for becoming an x-ray technologist;
- Get a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in radiological
- Do internships to get knowledge and experience of the field.
- Sit for a qualifying exam and pass it. The exam is usually administered by the relevant medical bodies in your country or state.
- Apply for the relevant X-ray technician license in your country or state. The licenses are usually given to qualified individuals and they allow you to practice your profession.
- Start applying for the X-ray technologist jobs.
From the above outline, you need to pass your secondary and post-secondary education levels to gain the necessary qualifications to pursue the degree levels. At the degree level, you will learn both the theory and practical elements related to radiological technology.
Typical courses that you will cover in your degree programs include pathology, radiation physics, anatomy, patient care, image production among others. You will also be allowed to pursue specialized areas that deal with X-ray imaging.
Which skills should an x-ray radiologist possess?
Other than the educational requirements, an x-ray radiologist should possess a special set of skills. Before you claim to be an x-ray technologist, you should undergo specialized training on how to handle and operate an X-ray imaging machine.
The training will equip you with hands-on knowledge and understanding of this imaging equipment. The training will also equip you with knowledge of anatomy and physiology. These two are covered in most medical-related degree programs. They will come in handy during the review and analysis of the images. They also streamline your communication channel with other medics.
You also need to possess some non-technical skills to be a successful x-ray technologist. Some of these skills include:
Interpersonal skills: These are the skills that you will use for interacting with other people in your area of work. X-ray technicians interact with different types of patients. Most of them are at the lowest moments of their lives and are stressed by the conditions that they are going through.
One subset of interpersonal skills is communication skills. This skill will enhance your communication and interactions with other parties in this field.
Patience and stamina: Other than the ability to interact with others, you need to have some level of patience. In some days, the job may be physically and mentally draining. Patience may be the only thing that will get you through.
Attention for details: Like in other medical fields, X-ray imaging requires high levels of precision and minimal errors. You should be able to operate the equipment accurately for it to produce accurate X-ray images.
Combining these skills with your academic qualifications will enhance your competency as an X-ray technologist.
The employment growth rate of X-ray technologists is projected to be on a steady rise. More people are expected to join this field. On the other hand, the radiologic technologist salary is also expected to rise. So, if you were having some doubts when it comes to remuneration, it is time to erase them and hope for the best.
If you are planning to switch your career, now is the best time to make a move. Start pursuing a career in X-ray technology and you will be impressed by the rewards.