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Medical X-Ray Technicians: The Big Picture


Medical x-ray technicians, also called radiologic technologists or radiologists, create x-ray images of parts of the human body through the use of radiographic equipment.

Doctors give the instruction to conduct an x-ray that the patient requires, and you will carry out that request. You will be hard-pressed to find a job as a radiologist if you don’t have an associate degree, but do know that it isn’t a requirement. Most states require you to be licensed or certified.

Guidelines For X-Ray Techs

As a medical x-ray technician, you’ll have specific rules to follow to ensure radiation protection. These guidelines protect your patients, yourself, and any surrounding coworkers. 

Prior to the procedure, you’ll ask patients to remove all jewelry and other objects they may be wearing that include metals. Objects can block an x-ray image and interfere with the test results. You’ll give patients a gown to change into. Then you’ll bring your patient into the designated x-ray room and position the patient on an x-ray table, providing clear instructions. 

You’ll cover and shield the part of your patient’s body that is not under examination. Lead aprons are significant to stopping radiation to both you and your patient.

The way a patient is placed depends on the type of image being taken. X-ray procedures are used in various ways, including the diagnosing of broken bones, joint dislocation, alignment of bone fragments, orthopedic surgery, injury, infection, and abnormal bone growths. 

You can have specialties as well. Some of the specialties include mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, and computer tomography. Mammograms produce images of the breast with low-dose x-rays. Computed tomography (CT or CAT scans) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) focus on cross sections of the body and, as a result, produce 2D images that can be turned into 3D images if necessary.

X-Ray Technician Training

As an x-ray technician in training, you’ll learn the proper way to take various types of x-rays. You’ll also practice working with patients, learning the best way to handle people of all ages who may be in pain or scared. Once you are a certified x-ray technician, kindness, patience and a smile will go a long way with your patients. To start your career, find a school near you offering a program in radiology!

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