Everyone who operates an x ray machine must be trained and certified to do so. While many doctors are qualified to handle x rays, too, they tend to have so much to do that it makes sense to hire someone specifically trained to take x rays. An x ray technician education is somewhat intensive, and the curriculum is incredibly focused. For these reasons, you can complete your training in as little as one year, if you are a full time student. Being well-trained and well-educated will help you to succeed in your career.
The most obvious courses you must complete will relate directly to the use and maintenance of x ray machines. Learning to take clear and precise images that doctors and specialists can actually use will be critical to your success. You will learn to process and develop the images. You will also learn how to safely use the equipment so that you, your patients, and your co-workers are protected from overexposure. Basic scientific courses will also be included, along with courses in anatomy, physiology, and other relevant topics. Medical terminology and medical filing will also be covered, so you know how to properly protect patient rights and communicate with doctors and nurses who also work with your patients.
At the end of your x ray technician education, you will be required to pass the national certification test, making you a certified x ray tech. Certification is usually a requirement of any jobs you might apply to. Locally, you will also be required to take a test to get your license, which will allow you to practice in the state where you live and work. Once you have passed both exams, you will be ready to look for employment.
The job market for highly skilled technicians is competitive but growing. In the coming years, more and more x ray techs will be needed to handle the growing needs of an aging population. Elderly people need more regularly scheduled check-ups, scans, and test, and are more likely to develop diseases or become injured. The generation that is growing old right now is larger than any other generation before, meaning that hospitals and specialists will need to increase their staff to accommodate the increase in patients.
Now is a great time to get an x ray technician education. The field is growing as well as the job market, and you could be on your way to a productive career in a very short amount of time.