Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Become an X-ray Technician

X-ray technicians, also called radiology technicians or radiologic technologists, prepare patients for x-rays and take and develop the x-ray films. As an X-ray technician, you'll need physical stamina because not only may you have to turn or lift disabled patients, but you'll also be spending long hours on your feet.

Before becoming an x-ray technician, you may decide to specialize in a particular kind of diagnostic imaging, such as:

The more procedures you have knowledge about, the better your employment opportunities will be [source: BLS].

Here's how to become an x-ray technician:

  • Earn a two-year associate's degree for radiology technicians or complete a four-year bachelor-level program. A bachelor-level program is necessary if you want to advance in the field and gain an administrative or supervisory position. Healthcare professionals who want to expand their medical knowledge or change career paths can simply complete a one-year accelerated certification program.
  • Get certified. Certification requirements vary from state to state. Some states require you to complete an accredited program, through which you can earn certification by the AART (American Registration of Radiologic Technologists). This can only be done after you complete your degree or earn your certificate [Source:DegreeFinders]. You'll have to attend continuing education classes every two years in order to maintain your certification.

Once you're certified, you can start looking for work. As an x-ray technician you may work in a:

  • Hospital
  • Physician's office
  • Dental practice
  • Diagnostic laboratory
  • Diagnostic imaging center

As the population continues to age, job prospects for x-ray technicians are expected to grow more quickly than those in the average field [source: BLS].