Sunday, December 28, 2008

Job Security For X Ray Techs

In a difficult job market, x ray technicians are viewed by hospitals as a valuable resource. Even when staff in other departments face layoffs or hiring freezes, hospitals are unlikely to make changes in their radiology department, especially their support staff. Without x ray technicians, diagnostic procedures would not occur. As diagnostic procedures are money makers for hospitals, you can bet they want to make sure their radiologic technologists are happy. Job security is very high in this field for these simple economic reasons. Check out this excerpt from a recent article on how the economy is affecting hospitals:
"Around the country, while some hospitals still are doing well, closings and bankruptcies seem to be picking up.

In New Jersey, where 47 percent of hospitals posted losses in 2007, five of the 79 acute-care hospitals closed this year, and a sixth may close soon. In Hawaii, nearly every hospital is in trouble, with two filing for bankruptcy and one nearly closing recently.

All over, hospitals are cutting costs by outsourcing services like housekeeping and security and trimming staff through layoffs, hiring freezes and attrition. Most are trying not to touch patient care jobs _ nurses, pharmacists, therapists and X-ray technicians _ as those already have staff shortages.

"The last thing we can do is skinny down our staffing right where we need it the most," said Mike Killian, marketing vice president for the three Beaumont Hospitals in suburban Detroit."
Source: Huffington Post

Why does job security matter?

Job security in the United States depends more upon the economy and business conditions than in most countries because of the capitalist system and the minimal government intervention in businesses. Job security in the United States can vary a lot since the supply and demand for jobs depends on the economy. If the economy is good, companies make more profits and create more jobs, which increases job security. However, in periods of economic slowdown or recession, companies try to cut costs and layoff workers which decreases job security. The costs of being unemployed are high, both economically and psychologically. Other jobs may promise high salaries and benefits, but if they do not have high job security, be prepared to be out looking for another job soon. Job hunting means lost wages and lost time, time that would have been better spent in a secure job with a secure income. 

Job Security High For X-Ray Technicians
Clearly x ray tech job security is as high as for a diagnostic radiology job. By being involved in patient care, the hospital does not view you as an expendable resource when times are tough but rather as an essential component of the core hospital team. A career as an x ray technician offers a promising future, job stability and good salaries. As technology advances and the American population ages, the demand for radiologic exams and procedures has soared. The country needs a growing number of qualified professionals to provide medical imaging and radiation therapy. Wages of xray technicians are competitive with other health professionals who have similar educational backgrounds. A 2004 survey by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists showed that wages averaged about $18 per hour for entry-level radio-graphers and $25 per hour for entry-level radiation therapists. With experience, additional education or supervisory responsibilities, wages can reach an average of $25 to $30 per hour. In addition, many employers allow xray techs to work flexible schedules, including part-time or evenings, giving you the time you need for family, friends, school or other activities, while still feeling secure about your x ray tech job! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Safety For Radiologic Technologists

Safety is an issue to definitely consider when entering the field. Radiography (with few exceptions) involves ionizing radiation. The radiation used is in low doses, but x ray techs receive more than the average person, potentially resulting in a large cumulative dose. Radiation causes disease by damaging DNA within our bodies, leading to cancer. While these risks are real, being educated about them and taking the proper preventive measures will insure your safety as a x ray technician.

To prevent harm from the x ray radiation, it is important to wear proper safety equipment such as lead aprons. Make sure to protect as much as your body as possible with proper fitting lead-coated garments. If the garment (collar, apron, etc) is not covering your body, it is not protecting your body. 

Beyond lead garments, proper positiong is also important. Make sure to focus equipment properly on patients. Attempt to stand as far away from the radiation source as possible, with an appropriate barrier in between you and the radiation source. Always wear your radiation badge, which monitors your cumulative radiation dose. If you ever suspect a safety issue, notify the proper supervisors or authorities at your place of employment. Remember: a good x ray technician is a safe x ray technician. 

Note: MRIs use magnetic forces to acquire images and do not use ionizing radiation. However, MRIs also pose several hazards and require the same attention to safety. 

Monday, December 22, 2008

X Ray Technician Salary And Benefits

Salary is an important consideration when looking into any new career. Fortunately, an x ray technician salary is very competitive. According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists Wage and Salary Survery 2007, the average mean x ray technician salary was $58,673 nationwide. This figure represented a 12.8% increase since 2004. 

X Ray Technician Salary by Region
A further breakdown of the number is more revealing. By location, the salaries ranged from the highs in California ($75,873), Massachusetts ($71,574), Washington, D.C. ($68,585), Connecticut ($66,471) and Oregon ($66,152), while the lowest reported salaries were in West Virginia ($45,627), South Dakota($48,902), Alabama ($49,131), Arkansas ($50,244) and North Dakota ($50,601).

X Ray Technician Salary by Discipline / Specialty
The disciplines/specialties yielding the highest compensation were medical dosimetry ($87,188)and radiation therapy ($71,461). Radiography ($52,336) was least lucrative, followed by mammography ($56,605).

X Ray Technician Benefits
However, total compensation includes more than just salary. The survey showed that mroe than 69 percent of x ray technicians surveyed had life insurance, 82 percent had health insurance, nearly 69 percent had dental insurance, more than 83 percent participated in retirement or pension programs and nearly 59 percent had tuition assistance available to them. More than 75 percent of x ray technicians reported receiving additional pay for hours worked outside a normal 40-hour work week. Of those who are paid for overtime, about 71 percent indicated that overtime pay accounted for 5 percent or less of their total annual compensation, while 5.4 percent said that it accounted for more than 20 percent of their total compensation. Forty-four percent of radiologic technologists said they are paid for being on call. Each time they are called in, they receive an average of $38.28 per hour or earn $74.26 for each session. Compared to a radiologist salary, these figures are very reasonable. 

Overall, the field is growing, although not as fast as in 2004 when there was a shortage of x ray techs. However, given the current job environment, the field remains quite promising. 

For more information on salaries and tips for negotiating your salary, check out:

X Ray Technician Or Radiologic Technologist?

While there is some overlap in terminology, the definitions of the two terms refer to different professions.
  • Radiologic Technologist - the formal term for the person who assists diagnostic radiologists in the acquisition of diagnostic films in a healthcare setting

  • X Ray Technician - the person who fixes radiographic equipment

While these definitions are correct, the term "X Ray Technician" is often used colloquially to refer to someone who is formally trained as a radiologic technologist. As these posts are aimed at a general audience, the general term "X Ray Technician" will be used from here on. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Does An X Ray Technician Do?

A common question when one hears of the profession x ray technician is about the nature of the job, or more specifically, what does an x ray technician do?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "X ray technicians take x rays and administer nonradioactive materials into patients’ bloodstreams for diagnostic purposes.

X ray technicians also referred to as radiologic technologists or radiographers, produce x-ray films (radiographs) of parts of the human body for use in diagnosing medical problems. They prepare patients for radiologic examinations by explaining the procedure, removing jewelry and other articles through which x rays cannot pass, and positioning patients so that the parts of the body can be appropriately radiographed. To prevent unnecessary exposure to radiation, these workers surround the exposed area with radiation protection devices, such as lead shields, or limit the size of the x-ray beam. X ray technicians position radiographic equipment at the correct angle and height over the appropriate area of a patient’s body. Using instruments similar to a measuring tape, they may measure the thickness of the section to be radiographed and set controls on the x-ray machine to produce radiographs of the appropriate density, detail, and contrast. They place the x-ray film under the part of the patient’s body to be examined and make the exposure. They then remove the film and develop it.

X ray technicians must follow radiologists’ orders precisely and conform to regulations concerning the use of radiation to protect themselves, their patients, and their coworkers from unnecessary exposure.

In addition to preparing patients and operating equipment, radiologic technologists keep patient records and adjust and maintain equipment. They also may prepare work schedules, evaluate purchases of equipment, or manage a radiology department."

Clearly,  x ray technicians play a valuable role in medical care. However, as a career, x ray technicians jobs are plentiful. Typically jobs are found in hospitals, but x ray technicians are increasingly being employed in physician offices as well as imaging centers. Many medical schools and hospitals offer training programs. Salaries range from $30,000 up to $70,000. There is also room for career advancement, with experienced x ray technicians performing more complex procedures. 

Radiologic technologists play an important role in medical care while enjoying a satisfying and rewarding career. Find out more today!

Friday, December 12, 2008

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About X Ray Technician Blog

Radiology is a dynamic, growing field that plays a critical role in healthcare today. Radiology is patient-centered, helping physicians of all specialties diagnose, manage, and treat their patients. Within radiology, there are many subspecialties, with new technology aimed at making radiology more accessible and more affordable. In this growing field, x ray technicians are in high-demand, playing a crucial role not only in image acquisition but also in patient care as part of the healthcare team.

This blog was created to post information on radiology education, radiology training, and radiology jobs. New developments and current events will also be covered. For more information, contact us at the X Ray Technician blog.