X-ray technology is an application of radiologic imaging. This branch of radiology science includes technicians who have been trained to use radiologic techniques or plans in order to evaluate the results from radiologic images. This area of the medical field specializes in interpreting x-ray results that have been produced for certain patients needing a more in depth picture or image of their medical condition. An x-ray machine takes particular images of an area of a patient's body in order to gain image information that can be read for further treatment planning.
About X-Ray TechnologyRadiologic technologists are those specialists who are further trained in reading and interpreting x-ray images. A technician with this background has additional training in patient management, physics, anatomy, physiology, pathology and radiology. This area of expertise is used to assess patient records and develop plans for using these images for additional medical procedures. There are sub specialties in this field of academic training and these sub specialties include the following:
- Nuclear medicine is a new area of study that uses modern medical equipment that is powered with nuclear technology.
- Diagnostic radiology is a sub specialty that examines internal organs, bones and cavities. This area of study can focus on cardiovascular imaging and intervention radiography.
- Sonography can be studied in addition to basic x-ray technology. This area of study is used in obstetrics and includes fetal monitoring and other specific regions for monitoring.
- X-ray technicians can concentrate in fluoroscopy which is a live motion radiography. An x-ray image is used to visualize certain areas including the digestive system and can be used to monitor the administration of contrast die agents. Pace makers need certain x-ray monitoring and stents and guide wires need this type of after care as well.
- A CT scan or computed tomography image provides cross sectional views or slices of the body. These images can be developed in a two dimensional or three dimensional format.
- An MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is a form of image that can build certain two dimensional or three dimensional maps of various tissue types within a body for further medical analysis or treatment planning.
- Nuclear medicine uses radio active tracers that tell how the body and organs are functioning. Certain radioisotopes can be administered to treat certain cancers such as thyroid cancer, for example.
- Radiotherapy uses radiation to shrink and eradicate cancer cells in and on the body.
- Mammography uses low dose x-ray methodologies to produce images of a human breast.
X-Ray Technologist Job DescriptionAn x-ray technologist can specialize in certain areas of study and apply these specialties to required employment job tasks. Radiologic technologists can have rotating shifts that include night duties. Several technical fields within medicine have rotating shifts that can run for two to three days together. A hospital or clinic worker can take additional days off after working a rotating work shift. This type of working schedule is usually voluntary and can pay additional wages because of the number of work hours completed together at one time. A technologist who trains in pediatrics and gynecology applications may be employed for x-ray fetal monitoring or mammography x-ray testing, for example.
X-Ray Technologist Training and CertificationA high school diploma is necessary and passing certain entrance requirements are a part of entering a program of study in this field of medicine. Formal training leads to a certificate in x-ray technology or a bachelor's degree in this area of study. Master's degree programs are concentrating in this area of technology as well. An educational curriculum for a certificate in x-ray technology includes the following:
- Human anatomy and physiology are core courses in this specialty.
- Radiation physics, radio pharmacology, and physiology are studied in order to gain a thorough knowledge of this area of scientific study.
- Medical imaging classes, diagnostics, radiologic instrumentation, medical imaging techniques and emergency medical procedures allow a new employee to understand the basic information needed for this type of employment position.
- Computer programming, medical ethics and patient care are administrative tasks that an x-ray technologist may be required to successfully complete.
Best X-Ray Technician Degree ProgramsMost x-ray technician training programs include a standard academic training curriculum that can be applied in several employment settings. The training can be generalized and the academic learner is able to make appropriate professional decisions across several areas of patient application. The best programs available will have a transferable amount of core curriculum courses that can be used in other fields of study as well. The better programs for this type of training will have a certificate that can be accepted by any secondary school or insurance company plan.
X-Ray Technologist SalaryA salary for an x-ray technologist is usually determined by an employment setting. Certain employers from larger hospitals or in larger cities of the U.S. may pay a higher salary, for example. A median pay for an x-ray technologist in the U.S. is $54,000 per year. Employers for this type of training included the following settings:
- Surgical hospitals, physician clinics and outpatient care facilities employ x-ray technicians.
- Medical diagnostic labs, research university labs and insurance carriers are current employers for this medical sub specialty.
- Federal executive branches employ x-ray technicians.