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X-Ray Technician

X-Ray Technician

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:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  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.

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

Featured Schools

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Brightwood College

At Brightwood College, we offer accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience focused on helping you gain skills for your chosen career.

Programs Offered:
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American Career College

American Career College (ACC) offers hands-on training that will prepare students for careers in the healthcare industry at three campuses in Los Angeles, Ontario, and Orange County, California.

Programs Offered:
  • Associate of Occupational Science in Surgical Technology

Ultimate Medical Academy Online

Ultimate Medical Academy is a nonprofit healthcare career school—and students are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we offer exclusive student services through your career training and beyond, beginning from the time you enroll online or at our campus in Clearwater, FL. We’ll also guide you toward the right program for your goals, and help you understand the affordability of your career training. So let us know you’re interested, and we’ll discuss how UMA can help you succeed.


Gainful employment information can be found at UltimateMedical.edu/gainful-employment and includes information on tuition, loan debt, completion, placement, and occupations.

Programs Offered:
  • A.S. - Healthcare Information Technology

Glendale Career College

At Glendale Career College, your success is our success! Our short-term allied health training programs will give you the skills to become part of the ever-growing healthcare field. Your decision to continue your education with Glendale Career College will prove to be a rewarding experience.

Programs Offered:
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George Mason University

Located in Fairfax, Virginia, George Mason University is the largest public research university in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

South University, Online Programs
As a student at South University, Online Programs, you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.
Programs Offered:
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