Radiology technologists, also called X-ray technicians, are responsible for performing diagnostic imaging procedures to help physicians identify and treat injuries and disease. They prepare and position patients for the procedure and explain the process to them to reduce any fears they may have. X-ray technicians adjust immobilization devices that help them capture the best views of specific areas of the body. They also use radiation protection practices to minimize radiation exposure for patients and staff. Radiology technologists process images, review them for identification, and prepare them for the physician. They also maintain X-ray equipment and complete records of work performed.
X-ray technicians must hold an Associate’s degree from an accredited radiologic technology program, CPR certification, and a valid ARRT certification. Registration with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists is a plus. X-ray technicians should possess knowledge of anatomy, physiology, body mechanics, and patient movement in order to perform thorough X-ray tests. Previous work experience in a health care setting, especially in a clinical role, is advantageous.
Radiology technologists frequently work nights and evenings so flexibility is important. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients, staff, and families. They need to manage difficult or emotional situations and always treat people with respect. Since X-rays contain useful information for diagnosing patients, technicians must work accurately and have an eye for detail. X-ray technicians are often the initial point in the diagnosis and treatment process so their information is valuable to physicians, surgeons, and specialists.
X-Ray Technician Tasks
- Explain process and position patient for x-ray; adjusting restriction devices; moving and adjusting equipment to set exposure factors.
- Determine patients' x-ray needs by reading instructions from physician.
- Perform basic general x-rays of the chest, hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, knee, foot or ankle under supervision of physician.
- Use beam-restrictive devices and patient-shielding techniques to minimize radiation exposure to patient and staff.
- Process exposed radiographs using film processors or computer generated methods.