X-ray technicians and technologists perform X-rays and CAT scans on patients or inject nonradioactive substances into patients' bloodstreams to diagnose illnesses and injuries. Also referred to as radiologic technologist jobs, these careers may also focus on modalities like magnetic resonance and computer tomography. The duties of X-ray techs typically include:
Operating and maintaining imaging machines
Capturing images of the portion of the patient's body specified by the physician
Prepping patients for the imaging procedure
Positioning patients to ensure an accurate, high-quality image
Collaborating with doctors to assess the quality of images
Recording detailed results of imaging procedures
Using computer programs to capture images
X-ray techs work in a variety of medical facilities, although over half work in hospitals. About 22 percent of X-ray technicians work in doctors' offices, and seven percent work in medical and diagnostic laboratories.
X-Ray Tech Job Education Requirements
While schools offer certificates, associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees in radiography, earning an associate's degree is the most common scholastic path for X-ray technician jobs. These programs normally include clinical and classroom training. For states that require techs to have certification or licensure, the programs they complete must be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). In addition, techs must pass a state or American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) credentialing exam. For state-specific requirements, contact your state's health board.
X-Ray Tech Job Market
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 231,560 X-ray technicians and technologists in the United States in 2013. The BLS expects this number to grow by more than 40,000, or 21 percent, by 2022. This growth rate is almost twice the national occupational average.
America's population will suffer more fractures and breaks as it ages, which will create more X-ray tech jobs. Moreover, recent federal legislation expanded the number of Americans with health insurance, which will drive demand for medical services as a whole. The states with the highest concentration of X-ray techs are West Virginia, South Dakota and Kentucky.
X-Ray Tech Job Salary Information
The mean annual wage for X-ray technicians and technologists in 2013 was $54,180 according to the BLS. Techs in the 90th percentile for income made $75,440, while those in the 10th percentile made $35,700. X-ray techs working in the scientific and research services industry had the highest average salary, making $64,800, whole those working in the offices of physicians had the lowest average salary, making $50,860. The top-paying states for X-ray tech careers are Massachusetts, Nevada and Maryland.