How to Become an X-ray Technician


An X-ray technician is also referred to as a technologist or a radiologic technician. He works as a professional in medical support. His tasks include capturing patients’ x-ray images to be used for diagnostic purposes. An x-ray technician follows a doctor’s orders and prepares patients for x-rays. Here are the steps you need to take to become an x-ray technician:

Step #1: Attain an Associate’s Degree

The first step to becoming a competent x-ray technician is to earn an associate degree from a reputable learning institution. has a list of the best schools by state to enroll for an associate degree program. The program will help you attain the necessary skills to work competently in a medical team. You will learn X-ray physics, radiographic procedures and anatomy & physiology.

Step #2: Apply for a State License

Most states in the United States will require you to have a state license to legally operate X-ray equipment. The majority of them will not give you a license without first passing a licensing exam and a radiologic technology course from an accredited learning institution.

Step #3: Attain Niche-specific Certifications

Regardless of whether your state requires these certifications, it will do you good to do these certification exams. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) can give you certification after passing a 200-question exam. The validity of this certification is two years.

Step #4: Look for a Job

The next step involves sending out job applications. The most likely places to get a job are in hospitals, medical labs, physician’s offices, outpatient care centers and imaging centers. Available statistics show that in 2014, the healthcare industry had around 197,000 radiologic technologists. This number is expected to increase to over 214,000 by 2024. As the U.S. population ages, the demand for x-ray technicians will increase.

Step #5: Gain Experience and Go Up the Ranks

If you can prove your worth to the healthcare institutions that will employ you, you might find yourself promoted to bigger, higher paying positions in a relatively short amount of time. You can become the department supervisor or the hospital’s chief radiologic technologist. You can also explore opportunities as an X-ray technology instructor or a radiologist assistant. Additionally, you could choose to specialize in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), mammography, etc.

Other Careers That Are Likely To Interest You

In the event that the idea of becoming an x-ray technician is not as exciting, you could explore other related career paths. These paths have similar professional requirements and job environments. They include MRI technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers.

As you can see, the process of becoming an x-ray technician is not as long and complicated as you may have thought. With enough patience and determination, you can make your way into a career whose prospects are improving by the day. What’s more, with a potential to earn an average of $54,000 annually, there is no reason why you should not do everything you can to pursue this career.

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