X-Ray Tech Education Requirements

X-Ray technicians, often called radiologic technologists, record medical images for use in patient diagnosis. They must explain X-ray procedures to patients and adhere to regulations to protect themselves and others from harmful exposure to X-rays. Equipment upkeep and patient record maintenance are also essential parts of an X-ray technician's job.

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Education Requirements for X-Ray Technicians

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), X-ray technician educational requirements vary by state; however, the federal government requires all of these techs to be properly trained. Certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs are available, with the associate's degree being the most prevalent.

Students in X-ray technician or radiologic technologist programs learn about anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, imaging, patient care and ethics. They also learn how to protect themselves and their patients from harmful radiation. X-ray technician programs take place in classrooms and in clinical settings.

High school students interested in the X-ray field should take science, math, biology and chemistry courses, says the BLS. To guarantee licensure nationwide, students should enroll in X-ray tech programs accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), according to the JRCERT website.

Certification, Registration and Licensure

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certifies and registers X-ray techs through examination. Graduates of radiology programs sit for the ARRT examination to become certified radiologic technologists. Certification by the ARRT signifies that an X-ray technician meets certain education and ethical standards.

Registered radiologic technologists complete continuing education requirements and renew their registrations yearly. Registration by the ARRT signifies continued compliance with standards and ethics set down by the organization. Only X-ray techs who renew their registrations annually may use the 'R.T.' initials after their names.

Some states require X-ray techs to be licensed to practice. ARRT's examination is used by 35 states in the licensing process.

Career and Job Outlook Information

The number of working radiologic technologists is projected to increase 28% from 2010-2020, according to the BLS. Job growth may stem from an expanding elderly population and heightened demand for outpatient care. The BLS notes that radiologic technologists earned a median salary of $54,620 as of May 2012.

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