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X-Ray Technician

A well-paying and rewarding medical career may seem like it would come with a long educational path and astronomical school debt. But, that isn’t always the case. You may want to consider the field of x-ray technology. Why? Choosing to become an x-ray or radiologic technician will ensure you a job within the great and growing world of medicine—and you’ll be done with your education in approximately two years.

What A Radiologic Technician Does

As an x-ray technician (aka radiographer or radiologic technician), you’ll be working alongside a medical team to diagnosis a patient. You’ll be trained in all the patient procedures and high-tech equipment usage.

What you’ll do daily will look a little something like:

  • Working directly with a team of medical professionals
  • Providing comfort to patients while in your care
  • Explaining the procedure to the patient positioning patient bodies according to what type of x-ray is being ordered
  • Doing some heavy lifting, maneuvering, and turning, especially with patients that have limited movement
  • Maintaining the equipment
  • Keeping detailed written records of each patient

You will learn the proper way, according to your state regulations and procedures, to protect yourself and your patients from exposure to the radiation from the equipment you use.

You may be trained in one or all of the following: mammography, computed tomography (CT scans), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How To Become A Radiologic Technician

To start your career as a radiologic technician, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  • Get your high school diploma or GED.
  • Complete a radiologic technician program through a trade school or community college.
  • Depending on which program you choose, whether it’s a certificate or degree, you can graduate in as little as two years if you go to school full time.
  • Most states will require you to have a license.
  • You MUST complete an accredited program in order to be eligible for one. Pass the certification exam. 
  • To keep your certification and license current, you’ll have to complete continuing education hours every two years. Check with your state’s licensing committee to find out more.
  • Consider specializing in mammography, CAT scans, or MRIs. These may increase your job opportunities and provide larger paychecks.
  • Start job hunting!

Radiologic Technician Salary And Job Opportunity

Now is a great time to consider becoming an x-ray technician. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an employment increase of 6 percent through 2032. What this means for you is that there will be about 15,700 new jobs open each year over the next decade.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2023 the average wage for x-ray technicians was $75,250, and the top 10 percent earned $102,380 or more. Variables such as your experience, location, and industry also affect your annual pay.

In 2023, the highest paying states for x-ray technicians were:

  • California ($103,150)
  • Massachusetts ($93,270)
  • Hawaii ($92,170)
  • Oregon ($90,610)
  • Washington ($89,910)

Going into the field of x-ray technology can lead to a rewarding and potentially high-paying job in the medical space, with minimal student debt when compared to that medical school can incur.