How to become a X-ray Technician
When you become an X-ray technician, also known as a radiographer, you will x-ray various parts of the body, and then pass the processed film on to radiologists who diagnose and treat health conditions such as cancer, ulcers or broken bones. Working directly with patients or through a physician, x-ray technologists explain the procedure to patients, and operate the x-ray machine. X-ray technicians must follow important safety procedures by using a radiation shield to protect the patient and themselves from dangerous radiation from the equipment.
To become an x-ray technician you must complete an accredited program in radiography. In addition, you may also need a state license or certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Courses in radiology are offered in hospitals, colleges and universities, and vocational-technical institutes. Hospitals, which employ most x-ray technicians, usually only hire formally trained radiology specialists from accredited programs. Once in an accredited program, you will receive classroom and clinical instruction in anatomy and physiology, patient care procedures, radiation physics, radiation protection, principles of imaging, medical terminology, positioning of patients, medical ethics, radiobiology, and pathology.
Courses to become an x-ray technician range from one to four years in length and can lead to a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree. Some one-year certificate programs are available for experienced x-ray technicians or individuals from other medical professionals who want to change fields or specialize in CT or MRI. If you aspire to become a supervisor, administrator or teacher, a bachelor's or master's degree would be desirable.