X-Ray Technician Career
X-Ray Technician Career Path
Are you thinking about starting a career as an X-Ray Tech? Getting into a job as an X-Ray Tech can happen much quicker than you might think. A career in x-ray can be a reality by completing an x-ray certificate or associates degree program. When you make the decision to become an X-Ray Technician, you are beginning down a path that can take you in many different and exciting directions.
Getting Started In an X-Ray Technician Career: Is it the right career for me?
So you want to get started in a new direction, but you're not sure if becoming an X-Ray Tech is the right fit for you? If you're unsure, start by talking to your family doctor about career paths in allied health and ask if they know of an X-Ray Technician that might be willing to talk to you about their job. You would be surprised how people love to talk about their jobs--their likes, dislikes, and what they find personally rewarding in their job. Getting the inside scoop on what it's like to be an X-Ray Tech will make you more confident in your decision to pursue it as a career. Another tell tale sign of whether a career is right for you is to understand the types of knowledge and skill you will need to perform the job. You can check out our X-Ray Technician Training page to get a glimpse into what you can expect. In general, X-Ray Technician character traits usually involve being good at working with people of all ages and types and being patient with the many circumstances people may be working with in their lives. Most X-Ray Technician's are compassionate people and have a desire to help people in a time of need. You must also have some interest in the human body and anatomy to perform your job as an X-Ray Tech well.
Advancement & Promotions for X-Ray Technician's?
Almost all X-Ray Tech's have one thing in common when it comes to discussing their careers: they all state that as an X-Ray Tech, you will always have growth opportunities and the potential to learn new skills in the field of medical imaging. If you are working among others in the radiology department of a hospital, it is inevitable that you will become acquainted with other modes of imaging such as MRI, CT, or Mammography. You will have many opportunities to observe and assist with other types of procedures. During this exploration, you may find that you become attracted to a certain aspect of the job. For example, you may have known someone close to you who has battled breast cancer and this may be something that has meaning and purpose for you in your job. You may decide that helping women detect and diagnose breast cancer is something that is highly rewarding for you, as many who pursue mammography careers do. After getting some experience in general x-ray under your belt, you may decide to do some job shadowing with a Mammographer and enroll in a mammography certificate program to prepare yourself for the next available position.
Do I need to become a Rad Tech or can I just remain an X-Ray Tech?
There is usually no mandate that you become a Rad Tech (Radiologic Technologist); however, it is a natural progression for many, once they have been an X-Ray Technician. Some states require that you pass the ARRT before you will be granted a license to operate x-ray equipment in that particular state. You can learn more about state licensing requirements for x-ray tech's in our radiology certification and ARRT resource pages. You can also find the contact information for radiology state licensing agencies in our radiology schools by state page. You will find the licensing information at the bottom of the page. Don't be afraid to get on the phone and get your questions answered.
Do I need to get Licensed or Certified to become an x-ray tech? What is the Difference?
First, let's get your acquainted with the difference between licensing and certification, as this can be confusing. The term "Licensed" refers to being granted permission by the state to perform your job as a radiology worker. Most states (38 actually) require that you become licensed to work as an X-Ray Technician. Getting licensed usually entails filling out an application and sometimes taking a test to ensure you understand basic x-ray and radiation safety. Some states don't require that you take a test, but instead will ask that you take the test administered by the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) and this is sufficient for licensing. It is important to visit your state web site and contact them to ensure you understand the requirements. While it sounds intimidating, most X-Ray Tech's will tell you that it sounds like a bigger deal than it actually is. The term "Certified" usually refers to someone who has passed the test administered by the ARRT, and then has registered with the ARRT. If you feel uncertain about what it will take to get a job as an X-Ray Tech in your state, start by contacting your state agency listed in this web site to get some clarity. Secondly, look at some of the job postings and see if they require certification or simply a state license.
A Popular Option: Medical Assisting with Limited X-Ray Careers
Another popular option for those looking to get started in the field of radiology is to begin as a Medical Assistant with Limited Scope X-Ray Skills. This option is popular because it provides you with a more comprehensive set of skills in the "medical" genre and it is a smart option for someone interested in working in a physician's office. A hiring physician will be looking for someone who can do more than just take x-rays and having the additional skills to perform Medical Assisting work will make you a more attractive candidate for these positions. To learn more about this option, check out our Medical Assisting with Limited X-Ray page.
Find Schools Offering X-Ray Technician Programs:
Taking the first step is often the hardest when it comes to kick starting a career. If you want to become an X-Ray Technician, your first step is to find a school that will make your career goals a reality and prepare you for your first x-ray job. Below, you will find a list of featured schools offering X-Ray Tech programs or you can search for x-ray & radiology schools in your state or our full list of radiology and x-ray schools. When you request information, you will be contacted by a school representative who will be able to answer questions such as length of program, tuition, and financial aid options. Be sure to ask about the success rate of graduating students and if they provide job placement assistance at the end of the program. Get your X-Ray Tech Career started now.