X-Ray Technician vs. Ultrasound Technician: Which Career is Better?

If an individual chooses to seek a career in either radiology or as an ultrasound tech, the proper training and education will help to get them going in the right direction.  Most of the ultrasound and radiology technician certificate and degree programs can be all done in nearly twenty two months.  The amount of time that you spend getting an education in either medical specialty will be similar.

When you get enrolled into a certification program for either technician career, classes will cover a variety of topics that include the following:

  • Patient prep
  • Maintenance of patient medical records
  • Care and use of equipment
  • Administration of basic medical exams
  • Medical terminology

A lot of programs offer online coursework along with the more traditional classes that students can take on campus. Online programs may offer more convenience than physically going to a class.  Many individuals need the convenience so they can take the classes they need to earn a degree at a time that is good for them. However, both careers require a lot of hands on training, usually clinic hours of some kind that must be arranged separately with a doctors office, clinic, or hospital.

Radiology Technicians and Ultrasound Techs Are In-Demand

There are many reasons to enroll in a technician program to earn your degree in order to attain a career as either an ultrasound or a radiology technician:

  • Radiology technicians and ultrasound technicians are in high demand for their specialized skills because of a growing health care system and a growing need for X-ray services
  • Both types of technician make a reasonably starting salary with benefits.
  • A seventeen percent increase is in the employment rate of radiology technicians is expected by 2018 and a 25% increase in employment of ultrasound technicians by 2025 has been projected.


People who start a career in a medical field are often in the best position to apply for further schooling in medicine. Many ultrasound techs and x-ray techs go on to careers in nursing and even go to medical school to become doctors. The previous experience and training in medical terminology, patient relations, and medical ethics prepares technicians to be excellent medical school students. Additionally, the hands-on experience is an excellent demonstration of the dedication a technician has to the job and the field. Going on to further your medical career shows that you are in fact dedicated to medicine and that you already enjoy being involved in medicine.

Which is Better?

Because X-ray techs and ultrasound techs follow similar paths and end up having similar options for the future, many people choose one or the other based on a chosen specialization. If you are more interested in x-ray diagnosis, x-ray technician jobs may appeal to you more. On the other hand, ultrasound techs can specialize in neo-natal care and caring for pregnant women and their developing babies. The choice of whether it is better to become an x-ray tech or an ultrasound tech may have more to do with personal preference than anything else.

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