An x-ray technician (sometimes called a radiographer or radiologic technician) is one of many para-medicine careers that are essential to the proper functioning of the US medical community. The demand for x-ray technicians had been steadily rising and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. The most competitive x-ray technicians are those who hold a degree from a quality accredited institution such as Kaiser Northern California.
What Is an X-Ray Technician?
The FDA classifies radiography as a term encompassing all aspects of medical studies used to view internal body parts using x-ray technology. Radiography is used in many medical fields such as orthopedics, dental, emergency services, oncology, and surgery. It may be used to aid in the diagnosis of illness or injury, in making treatment decisions, or as a piece of ongoing medical monitoring of a condition.
X-ray technicians are the members of the healthcare team that complete x-ray studies and prepares images for use by physicians or other healthcare providers. They receive an order or referral from a physician and provide the imaging requested. Providing high-quality images helps the medical team to accurately diagnose and treat different conditions.
X-ray technicians commonly work in community clinics, physician's offices, or radiography clinics. Those with a Bachelor’s level of education such as that given at Kaiser Northern California can work in hospitals and emergency rooms. These techs work directly with patients, often providing solace and technical skill while completing the steps of the procedure. They work with medical equipment that creates the x-ray images and the radiographic area.
An X-Ray Technician's Tasks Include:
Education, Career Outlook, & Salary
Many people begin their path to being an x-ray technician by getting an Associate Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree or an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree or a certificate through a technical college. Beginning didactic work at a community college or vocational school may be easier for some than going straight to university. Classes are smaller, tuition is less, and instructors are more available due to smaller class sizes.
However, to have the most job opportunities and the ability to work in hospitals, a Bachelor’s of Science in Radiologic Technology degree, such as that offered at Kaiser Northern California, may be the preferred plan. This degree allows the x-ray technician to gain a robust and complete didactic education with a hands-on training program.
For individuals who want to enter the job market quickly, obtaining an Associate’s level degree and then moving into a Bachelor’s is a viable option. Specialties within radiography often require higher levels of education.
The career outlook for individuals with a Bachelor’s of Science in Radiologic Technology is promising. X-ray technicians can expect a 9% job growth over the next ten years. Advancement into supervising roles is generally easy, especially with experience and longevity. Additional education and training, sometimes paid for by the employer, will further solidify placement in the job market.
Job satisfaction is also reportedly high, with most x-ray technicians enjoying their jobs and reporting that interactions with patients and feeling like an important part of the healthcare team are very satisfying.
X-ray Technician Salary
X-ray technicians come out of school ready to obtain a competitive and well-paying position. Salaries for beginning x-ray technicians average $42,000 annually, or $22 per hour, in the US. Annual salaries range from $34,000 to $66,000 per year, or $16-$30 per hour, with higher salaries going to those with more education, experience, or specialty training in fields such as mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT).
Benefits packages and bonuses are commonplace with only 25% of individual reporting they lack any benefits other than salary compensation. Health, vision and dental insurance coverage, paid time off, vacation and sick pay, and support for a retirement plan can be expected and argued for in the competitive radiography job market.
Kaiser Northern California X-Ray Technician Programs
The Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences (Kaiser Northern California) offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Radiologic Technology which will provide the student with the training, education, and skill to becoming a knowledgeable and well-rounded x-ray technician. This is a 24-27 month program which can be completed in the day or night program.
Their program offers hands-on training in actual medical facilities in Northern California, while classroom didactic work is completed in a daytime or evening program. “We are committed to shaping compassionate radiographers dedicated to a future of meeting diverse healthcare needs within the community.” This is the bold mission statement that Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences is serious about.
Goals of the Program
The x-ray technician program at Kaiser Northern California sets several educational goals that they use to structure their learning environment. They state they want to give students the preparation needed to pass the statewide and national certifications, so that students will be able to show the behaviors and skills needed to enter the field, and so that students will know how to behave in a professional and ethical matter that incorporates personal and professional growth.
Kaiser Northern California’s x-ray technician program seeks to fulfill several learning objectives. Upon graduation, students are expected to have effective communication skills that will enable them to communicate with patients and health care providers. They will practice critical thinking skills and clinical competence. They will adhere to common radiation safety practices. Lastly, students will demonstrate the ability to work in teams with professionalism and high standards.
The coursework offered at Kaiser Northern California in the X-Ray Technician program is much more robust than what the student will get with a two-year associate degree, and there are prerequisites to keep in mind when applying. Transfer credits from another accredited institution may be honored. We recommend speaking to an academic advisor at Kaiser Northern California to discuss your planned program.
To give you an idea of what to expect, here is what the current 2018 catalog lists as prerequisites and program classes:
X-Ray Technician Program Classes
Many colleges report data to supervising agencies who can assess the quality of a program. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) provides criteria by which Kaiser Northern California evaluates its x-ray technician program. The data discussed here is from JCERT’s 2017 annual report and reflects the program quality standard that Kaiser Northern California is known for.
Kaiser Northern California has an average pass rate of 98% over the past five years, and most of the 185 students who have attempted the credentialling exam passed on the first try. Of those graduates who certify, more than 85% will find a job placement as an x-ray technician with five years. Completion rates for those who start the program are at 95%.
The tuition for the Kaiser Northern California x-ray technician program is about $27,000 per year, and financial aid is available.
Kaiser Northern California has a simplified online application available to prospective students for its x-ray technician program. The simplified steps of the application process are:
- Create an online application profile
- Upload two letters of reference
- Upload documentation of several hours of job shadowing with an x-ray technician
- Upload a resume
- Pay an application fee
- send official transcripts
The college will then evaluate applications and contact individuals by phone, who will then move on to a panel interview.
The Bachelor’s of Science in Radiologic Technology offered at Kaiser Northern California provides a solid education for any individual wanting a career as an x-ray technician. This essential, in-demand, and vital position provides a satisfying career and looks to enjoy a great job outlook for years to come. Holding a degree that will not become outdated is essential to remaining competitive as this career field grows.
The additional opportunities and the hands-on training provided by a four-year education degree far exceeds a vocational or community college level degree. Kaiser Northern California maintains excellent standards and program results, including a high retention rate, high graduation rate, and a majority pass rate for national certifications. It is sure to be a good choice for prospective x-ray technician students.