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X-Ray Technician


X-Ray Technician
Description

X-ray technicians are trained to produce and develop radiographs, or x-rays, to help physicians and dentists treat their patients effectively. These technicians can perform basic and complex examinations using sophisticated computerized equipment. The results of their work are examined closely by radiologists, physicians, and dentists, who look for abnormalities which could indicate cancer, fractures, and infections.

X-ray technicians can make images of all body parts and body systems, including chests, bones, joints, intestinal systems, spines, breasts, heart, blood vessels, and can create detailed cross-sectional images of the body (CT scans). Often, they can create real-time images as well, and record body movement for future study.

The x-ray technician is responsible for the quality, accuracy, and clarity of the images produced. They must take care to ensure the correct view is being recorded, according to the request of the physician. At times, the technician must have the patient drink barium, or dye, to highlight organs and structures that might otherwise not be seen.

Because of the many factors that go into having an x-ray, the techician must be careful to be respectful and empathetic to the patients. The technician plays an important role in the early detection of disease, and must therefore be trustworthy, responsible, and work hard to ensure that the images produced will be helpful to the doctors, dentists, and patients alike.
 
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$27,190
 
Median Salary:
$38,970
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$55,430

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in becoming an X-ray technician? One should be technologically minded, and enjoy precise tasks with clear rules and guidelines. They should have a calm, sensitive demeanor and a gentle disposition. They should be organized, detail-oriented, efficient, and safety-conscious, with a desire to help people. They should work well with others and have excellent communication skills
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Explain the procedure to the patient
  • Answer questions as fully as possible
  • Comfort the patient and provide emotional support
  • Calculate radiation dose
  • Correctly position the patient and the equipment
  • Ensure that the patient, all staff, and visitors are protected from radiation
  • Monitor the patient during procedure
  • Perform any minor repairs to equipment when necessary
  • The typical day for an x-ray technician will involve working closely with a number of clients. The environment can be tense, because x-ray technicians often help diagnose disease, illness, or fractures. X-ray technicians work indoors. They work in offices, and in screening rooms. They work with radiation, so must be prepared to take safety precautions. They work regular hours, but may be required to work some evenings or weekends, depending on the clinic. They work in small teams of doctors, dentists, technicians, assistants, and receptionists.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • X-ray technicians work in hospitals, dentist offices, and health clinics.

  Long Term Career Potential  
X-ray technicians can become supervisors, or become college instructors. They can branch into other forms of radiation technology, or can go on to become nurses or dental hygenists, or radiologists. They can also train to become doctors or dentists. They can become sales representatives for the companies that sell the radiography equipment.
 

  Educational Paths  
X-ray technicians are required to complete a two- to three-year college program in radiography, after which they will be certified. Technicians may be required to join a regional professional society, depending on their location.
 




Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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