For students anxious to enter this fast-growing market, choosing a career in healthcare can be daunting. There are so many different jobs in this field, some with lengthy educational requirements. One career that offers students, both young and older, great benefits without the lengthy educational investment is that of the X-ray Tech.
X-ray Techs, also known as Radiology Technicians, are important and skilled healthcare workers who are employed by:
Women’s Health and Wellness Centers
X-ray Techs have a varied and exciting workday. They begin by greeting each patient, and preparing them for their upcoming test. The X-ray Tech receives orders from the patient’s Physician or Radiologist that details which area is to be x-rayed. After explain the procedure, the X-ray Tech then assists the patient, if necessary, in removing certain items of clothing, as well as jewelry or under garments that the x-rays could not pass through. The X-ray Tech works with the patient to position them for the best possible x-ray, based on the body part that needs to be radiographed. The X-ray Tech uses their anatomy skills obtained through their education to work with each patient for positioning.
The X-ray Tech then prepares the exposed areas of the patient by covering them with radiation protection devices such as lead shields. These shields limit the exposure the patient has to the radiation during the x-ray process. After obtaining the films that were ordered by the patient’s Physician, the X-ray Tech completes paperwork and makes the films available to the Radiologist for interpretation. Along with these duties, the X-ray Tech also works with the department instrumentation such as the x-ray machine. These machines must be correctly set for each patient so the resulting images show the proper detail, density and contrast.
The resulting x-rays are read, or interpreted, by the Radiologist. The x-rays are a very important diagnostic tool. They are used to diagnose illness or disease, as well as track (follow) a disease process during treatment. X-ray films can show a patient has pneumonia, a broken bone, a cavity in their tooth, and can even show soft tissue changes such as swelling.
Along with obtaining x-rays, maintaining patient records and department paperwork, the X-ray Tech also adjusts and maintains imaging equipment for the department. They enjoy meeting new people each day and work in a pleasant work environment where they are important members of the healthcare team.
The Duties of an X-ray Tech
Patient Preparation – Working with the patient in a calm and professional manner, explaining the X-ray process, positioning the patient for the best possible images, and obtaining the images as ordered by the Physician, providing the completed films for the Radiologist review
Results Analysis – Determining whether the images you obtained are the best possible images that will be available, and keeping an accurate recording of the number, content and type of images you obtained
Record Keeping – Accurately recording each patient’s appointment, from image content to diagnosis, as well as chart anomalies. Record keeping can also include department charting such as film counts, supplies and equipment records
Equipment Maintenance – Handle and maintain the sophisticated equipment and machines
For students of all ages, becoming an X-ray Tech is a wonderful career choice. You will enjoy employer benefits, an impressive starting salary, and work in a pleasant environment helping others. With a growth rate of 28%, employers will need dedicated, skilled X-ray Techs who desire job security, a great working environment, and employer benefitsX-ray Techs are in high demand from Employers. They enjoy great benefits such as:
Health, dental and vision insurance
Paid vacation and sick time
Lucrative salary range of $53,000 annually
Opportunity for Advancement
To become an X-ray Technician, it is important to select a program that is accredited. A college, university or program becomes ‘accredited’ after they have met strict educational guidelines, good standing and criteria necessary for higher learning. For you, the student, accreditation can be considered a ‘seal of approval’. You will know the program you select will provide you a quality education, one that will give you all the tools you will need to become an exemplary X-ray Technician. The accrediting body for these programs is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiographic Technology. If you are unsure a school or program is accredited, you may verify their accreditation status through the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiographic Technology.
There are several ways to become an X-ray Technician. You may obtain a bachelor’s degree, a four year degree, or an associate’s degree, a two year degree. The most popular choice for X-ray Techs is an associate’s degree program. There are certification programs available, which are typically around twelve months in length. Some shorter programs offer a substantially lower tuition cost than the associate’s or bachelor’s programs. It is important to verify the program is accredited. If it is not, you may be saving money on initial tuition costs; however, you may be losing money on the education you receive. If you obtain your education, you will be unable to obtain your licensing. Only those students who have completed an accredited program are eligible to take the exam.
Once you have successfully completed your education, you may obtain your licensing by taking, and passing, an exam. Currently, there are 38 states that require you to be licensed. While healthcare continues to grow at a rapid rate, the employment rate of X-ray Techs is predicted to grow by an astonishing 28% until 2020. This rate is faster than the average of all occupations.
If you are interested in joining the healthcare profession as an X-ray Tech, you may be surprised how rapidly this profession is growing. In response to the rise in population and the increased longetivity rates of our elderly population, healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. For X-Ray Techs, this growth translates into job security, flexible working schedules and such employer benefits as paid vacations and health benefits. For those interested in joining this profession, now is a great time – because the growth in this field is expected to continue at an astonishing rate of 17% until the year 2018.