An X-ray technician records medical images that will be used in patient diagnosis. These technicians are also called radiologic technologists. To obtain the necessary images, they must walk the patients through the procedures and follow regulations to protect the patients and themselves from the harmful effects of the X-rays.
How to Become an X-ray Technician
The requirements vary as to how one can qualify as an X-ray technician from state to state. However, federal governments require X-ray technicians to be properly trained.
High school students who are planning to pursue a career in the medical field by being an X-ray technician must take science, biology, chemistry, and math.
The most common education route taken by those who want to become X-ray technicians is to get an associate’s degree in radiography. This two-year program is usually offered by technical schools, allied health organizations, and community colleges. The students under this program take classroom-based classes to learn more about the human body, radiation, X-ray physics, and general medical science. They also get trained in clinical labs, in handling mock patients, in preparing an X-ray machine, in processing X-rays, and in following clinical protocol.
Others choose to take certificate programs in radiography, which usually last for one to two years. These are shorter than the associate degree with a few liberal arts requirements. They are often available in hospitals, clinics, and other health care institutions. Courses may include image processing, radiology equipment, and patient care.
Those who take the longer route of the four-year bachelor’s program in radiography are trained to handle more than one imaging technology, such as MRI and CT scan. Coursework focuses on pathology, radiological imaging, research, and special radiography procedures. Graduates from this program are groomed to pursue an X-ray technologist career instead of an X-ray technician career.
Students training to be an X-ray technician learn about human anatomy, imaging, medical terminology, physics, patient care and ethics. They are also taught the necessary precautions to protect themselves and other people from harmful radiation.
Online Courses for an X-ray Technician
There are available online courses, although those who are interested in this field of work still need access to onsite equipment. These online radiology technician programs teach students what it is like to be a professional in this field. They usually include radiation protection, radiographic procedures, radiograph’s technical quality, and patient care. Just a part of the coursework is online, since students still need to go to clinical labs and practicum.
Importance of Getting a ARRT Certification
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers certification to X-ray technicians who want to broaden their employment opportunities. It can provide the certification that about 36 states are looking for. The certification will automatically qualify for a license after passing the ARRT exam. However, it should be renewed every year.
There are more employment opportunities for X-ray technicians with formal education certificates in X-ray technology. Certification usually shows just how serious a person is about keeping up with the latest developments in the field. This will make an X-ray technician even more bankable to employers.