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How to Become an X-Ray Technician

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: DaniellaNicole•updated: 2/18/2010

This article discusses what an x-ray technician is as well as what they do. It also talks about what education and skills are required to become an x-ray technician.

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    What is an X-Ray Technician and What do they Do?

    An x-ray technician is a healthcare professional that uses x-ray equipment to take pictures that are used to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases, conditions and injuries. Not only do they take pictures, but many of them also are capable of operating and maintaining x-ray equipment (this includes portable x-ray equipment) and some are capable of performing other radiology procedures such as CT scans, MRI's and sonograms (ultrasounds). An x-ray technician only takes the pictures and they are not allowed to talk to the patient about what the findings of an x-ray are nor do they read or interpret the films. If an x-ray technician spots something on an x-ray that will require emergency treatment they are and should notify a doctor or radiologist immediately, but they still cannot discuss this with the patient.

    X-ray technicians are employed in a variety of places such as convalescent homes, hospitals, dental offices, radiology clinics, doctors offices and emergency and critical care facilities. There is risk involved with this occupation. The degree of risk will depend on the place of employment and how strictly an x-ray technician follows safety protocols. X-rays technicians are at risk for developing certain cancers because of their frequent and often long-term exposure to radiation. They can minimize their risk by strictly adhering to safety procedures such as blocking themselves from radiation behind walls or with lead sheets.

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    What Skills and Education are Required to Become an X-Ray Technician?

    Many x-ray technicians will only need to attend school for a year or two before they are qualified to work in this profession. Most x-ray technician education programs take place at trade schools or community colleges so it is also often less expensive than other medical training. They will also need to possess a certain set of skills in addition to their education to be successful. Important skills for an x-ray technician to have are the ability to work under pressure, the ability to solve problems, the ability to handle stress and the ability to create a picture of a problem.

    Sometimes solving a specific problem is not feasible, but as an x-ray technician a person is a vital component of diagnostic healthcare and they should treat the role as such. The right training and skills will ensure that an x-ray technician remains vital and will also ensure proper care to all patients that they come into contact with.

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    References

    Ellis, Christensen. (2003-2009). What Does an X-Ray Technician Do? Retrieved on January 27, 2009 from Wise Geek. Website: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-an-x-ray-technician-do.htm