Pursuing an X-Ray Technician Degree
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In order to earn an x-ray technician degree, you will need to complete coursework in areas such as patient care procedures, physiology, radiation protection, radiation physics, medical terminology, principles of imaging, medical ethics, positioning of patients, pathology and radiobiology. Earning an x-ray technician degree also involves completing clinical instruction within the field. Federal legislation requires all x-ray technicians to complete training in the area, though each state is able to establish its own standards for licensure.
After completing your x-ray technician degree, there are several different career paths you may pursue. These include:
A general radiographer produces x-ray films of patients in order to assist with the diagnoses of medical problems. Obtaining these films requires preparing patients for the examination and taking the necessary steps to minimize the patient’s exposure to radiation.
CT technologists specialize in computed tomography (CT), which involves taking cross-sectional x-rays of the patient’s body. With the use of ionizing radiation, the CT technologist is able to create a three-dimensional image of the areas being examined.
MR technologists specialize in magnetic resonance imaging (MR), which is capable of producing a three-dimensional image by creating several cross-sectional images. MR differs from CT in that it uses non-ionizing radio frequencies in order to create images.
A mammographer specializes in utilizing low doses of x-rays to produces images of patients’ breasts, which are then used to diagnose and to treat cancer and other conditions affecting the breasts.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for individuals with an x-ray technician degree are expected to grow faster than the average occupation. This is largely because of the population will continue to grow and to age, which will require the continued use of diagnosing equipment. The Bureau reports that the median annual earnings for x-ray technicians in May 2006 was $48,170.
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