Editor's Note: This article has been updated for more recent advancements within the radiologic technician field. This article was originally published in March 2016.
X-ray technicians, or radiologic technicians, typically work in hospitals, diagnostic imaging centers, clinics, laboratories, nursing homes, or in private industries. Most work 40-hour weeks, with occasional weekend, evening or on-call hours.
X-ray technicians use high-tech machines to produce medical images that focus on specific sections of their patients’ bodies. They’re trained healthcare professionals with the skills to manipulate specialized imaging equipment to get the “inside” pictures physicians need to see – or visualize – each patient’s medical problem and prescribe a course of treatment.
Before taking x-rays, these technicians work with patients to explain the imaging process, position them so images are taken of the correct areas of the patient’s body, and remove all personal items that could block the x-rays or scans.
X-ray technicians are trained to spot medical issues that may require emergency treatment and often help physicians diagnose a patient’s medical condition. They also may oversee office work, such as setting up stations for doctors, preparing work schedules, keeping records--even managing radiologic departments.
How to Become an X-Ray Technician
Beyond simply taking x-rays, some radiologic technicians undergo extra schooling to learn additional specialty areas of their profession. This may include training to perform sonograms, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), or computerized axial tomography scans, known as CAT scans or CT scans.
Two things prospective x-ray technicians should know about the career and its working conditions: they should be in good physical condition, and the field is not without risk.
Long-term exposure to frequent x-rays can be harmful, so radiologic technicians always must follow strict safety procedures to protect themselves--and their patients. Physical conditioning is important because they often spend much of the day on their feet, and may have to assist disabled patients and those who have trouble moving on their own.
Start Your Radiologic Technician Training Today
X-ray technician, or radiologic technician, is a growing profession that generally requires a year or two of training before working in the field. Prospective radiologic technology candidates can explore radiologic technician program areas, hands-on training opportunities, and career options at Fortis.