How to Become an X-Ray Technician: Learning and Skills Guide


    The human body can have many different problems, and figuring them out can be hard. When someone gets hurt, is pregnant, or needs to know what’s wrong with them, X-ray technicians are really important. In this article, we’ll talk about what an X-ray tech does, the skills they need, and how you can become one.

    What is an X-ray technician, and what do they do?

    An X-ray technician is someone in the medical field who uses special machines to take pictures inside the body to find out what’s wrong when someone is sick. They’re also called radiographers or radiologic technologists.

    Here’s what they usually do:

    • Get the examination room ready.
    • Help patients get in the right position for the X-ray.
    • Measure how strong bones are and how much mineral they have.
    • Take pictures of things like muscles and organs.
    • Use computers to keep track of the pictures they take.

    X-ray Technician Skill Requirements

    X-ray techs work in different places, but there are important skills that can help you do well anywhere. Here are the top skills that good X-ray techs have:

    • Knowing a lot about medicine and the human body
    • Being good with medical tools
    • Talking openly with others
    • Understanding how others feel
    • Figuring out new solutions to problems
    • Ethical
    • Being able to adjust to different situations

    Medical and Anatomical Knowledge

    Radiologists need to know a lot about how the body works and what can make it sick. This helps them understand test results well and explain them to patients. Always learning more helps radiologists become even more helpful to their team and treat illnesses better. Being observant is also important to catch serious problems early.

    Medical Technology Competence

    It’s important to know how medical tools and procedures work and how they affect patients to get good results. Technology keeps changing, so it’s important to keep learning about it to treat patients faster and better. You should feel confident using the equipment to position patients correctly and get the right pictures.

    How to Become an X-ray Technician

    X-rays produces special images taken inside your body using invisible waves. X-ray techs work in places like hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics. Usually, people get X-rays to check for broken bones, but they can help with other things too.

    To make sure everything goes smoothly and safely, X-ray techs get a lot of training and have to pass tests to get certified and licensed.

    Here’s how to become an X-ray tech:

    Complete Coursework

    Radiographers learn for 2 to 4 years before they start working, so you need a degree to be an X-ray tech. They can choose to get an associate degree (2 years), a bachelor’s degree (4 years), or do a certification program (2-3 years). It’s important to make sure the program you choose is approved by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.

    During their education, they do clinicals, where they practice in a real medical setting with equipment, doctors, and patients. In X-ray school, they learn about things like:

    • How radiation affects the body
    • Safety procedures
    • How X-ray machines work
    • Making and reading X-ray images
    • Human body anatomy and bones

    Acquire Certification

    Getting certified isn’t always needed, but most jobs prefer X-ray techs who are certified. It shows you’re skilled and meet professional standards. Employers usually look for certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

    Before, you only needed a one-year program, but now you need at least an associate degree to get certified. To become certified, you need:

    • An associate degree or higher
    • Education related to the certification you want
    • Passing a series of ethics questions
    • Passing a certification exam

    You have three years after finishing your education to take the certification exam.

    Obtaining the Right License

    In some states, you need a license to work as an X-ray tech. And in some of those states, you need to be certified first. But there are 11 states where you don’t need a license:

    • Alaska
    • Alabama
    • Georgia
    • Idaho
    • Missouri
    • Michigan
    • New Hampshire
    • Nevada
    • North Carolina
    • North Dakota
    • South Dakota


    Once you’re certified and have some experience, you might want to specialize in a certain area. Specializing can give you more job options and better pay. But you’ll need more schooling for each new specialty before you can take the exam. Some popular specialties for radiologists are:

    • Breast sonography
    • Mammography
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Sonography

    Become an X-ray Tech with the Proper Skills and Educational Requirements

    Ready to embark on a rewarding career journey as an X-ray technician? Discover the exciting world of medical imaging and make a difference in people’s lives every day. Whether you’re assisting patients, capturing vital images, or advancing your skills through specialization, there’s a path for you in this essential healthcare field. Take the first step today towards a fulfilling career helping others and ensuring their health and well-being.