As an x-ray technician you will be responsible for taking pictures (or x-rays) of various body parts. Once the x-rays have been taken, the technician will then pass along the film to radiologists who can determine if there are any problems detected with the body part that was x-rayed. X-ray techs are responsible for explaining the procedures to the patients, following procedures to get the desired x-ray and to follow important safety guidelines to protect the patient and themselves. This is an important job that is currently in high demand in the United States. There are many places of employment who keep x-ray technicians on hand 24 hours a day.
Places that Hire X-Ray Technicians
The first place many people think about when they are thinking about finding an x-ray technician job is the hospital. All hospitals keep x-ray techs on staff around the clock. It is crucial for hospitals to have x-ray technicians on hand to be able to diagnose problems fast and efficiently in a small time frame. Most urgent care clinics also keep techs on hand to prevent having to refer patients to the hospital if they come in with a possible broken bone. This environment is very high paced and demanding. An x-ray tech in a hospital setting should be able to deal with strict time lines, high patient volume, and be able to function under high levels of stress.
If working in a hospital setting is not for you, then you could look at working for a veterinarian’s office. Veterinarian offices need x-ray techs on staff. As a technician at a veterinarian’s office you would be responsible for taking x-rays of animals of all kinds. Some offices even have a mobile x-ray vehicle where a technician could travel to the animal and take an x-ray on site. Working with animals can be a little more difficult as it is harder to get them to follow directions, and to get them positioned correctly for the x-ray. Working with animals can involve a lot of stress since an animal can not tell you what is hurt, and that they are unpredictable. This is the perfect job for an x-ray technician that is good with animals and can be prepared for anything.
Private Doctor’s offices and nursing homes are also excellent places of employment for x-ray techs. In this environment urgency is not as great as working in the hospital or veterinarian’s office. This can provide a great starting place for an x-ray tech straight out of school. A majority of time in small offices x-ray techs will be doing chest x-rays, bone x-rays, and possibly head x-rays. A majority of x-rays will be for minor injuries such as a broken bone or for minor illnesses that a chest x-ray is needed for. In a nursing home x-rays may be needed for those who are bed ridden to ensure that bones have not been broken or chipped from the patient being moved.
Another great place for x-ray techs to work is at local dentist offices or oral surgery offices. X-rays are a critical part of fixing problems with teeth and for taking a look at bone structures before oral surgeries. Almost all dentist offices have x-ray techs on hand to do x-rays for yearly exams, and to prepare for root canals. This would be the perfect job for someone who is intrigued by the world of dentistry.
Required Training for Employment
Unless you are lucky enough to find an internship with a company that pays you to attend school, chances are that you will have to have your certification through your state and the American Registry of Radiological Technologists. Training can range from one to four years, depending on your educational goals as an x-ray tech. Once you have completed the minimum requirements to become employed chances are great that you can still attend school while working. Some companies will even pay for you to continue your education.
Starting out as an x-ray tech can lead to limitless possibilities such as becoming and administrator, a teacher, or a supervisor. Ensuring that you continue with your education, and maintain a professional standard of excellence can open the door to many future opportunities. It is also possible to cross train and be able to do other jobs in the radiological field.