X-ray technicians specialize in performing diagnostic x-ray imaging procedures or examinations to assist medical providers with diagnosing various internal health concerns.
X-ray technicians are typically responsible for maintaining the imaging equipment, following strict guidelines from physicians on imaging requests, preparing patients for the procedures, protecting the patient from exposure to radiation, positioning the patient appropriately for quality x-ray images, operating the computerized equipment to capture the images, and keeping detailed patient records of procedures performed.
How much does an x-ray tech make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 194,790 x-ray and radiologic technicians employed throughout the United States earn an annual average x-ray technician salary of $56,450, which is equivalent to a mean hourly wage of $27.14.
While the bottom ten percent of x-ray technicians earn $37,060 per year or less, the top ten percent in the profession makes considerably more at an average of $77,160 every year. X-ray technicians employed at medical diagnostic laboratories earn around the average at $56,740, but those that work for colleges and universities have the highest paying salaries at $66,810 annually. The top-paying states for the occupation are Massachusetts and California, where x-ray technicians make $82,080 and $70,590 respectively.
Employment of x-ray technicians occurs in various healthcare facilities; however, the majority, around 61 percent, works for state, local, and private hospitals. Others are employed by physician offices, medical diagnostic laboratories, outpatient care centers, imaging centers, and the federal government. Although there are certain risks for radiation exposure in this profession, hazards are minimized by the use of protective shielding devices to protect both technician and patient. Most x-ray technicians are employed with full-time status, but some may need to work irregular evening or weekend hours to cover imaging needs in emergency situations while on call.
As the large baby boomer population continues to age, there will be an increased number of patients with medical conditions that will require x-ray imaging procedures for diagnosis. For this reason, employment for x-ray technicians is expected to grow faster than the average for other professions at a rate of 28 percent, which will create 61,000 more jobs before 2020. While hospitals are likely to remain the major employer for these technicians, the most job growth will be most promising in physician offices and medical diagnostic imaging centers.