X-Ray Technician (Tech) Description Salary Education Certification

X-Ray Technician

An x-ray technician operates special equipment to capture images of a patient internally.


The median salary for an x-ray technician is approximately, $49,000 annually. The highest paid technicians can earn as much as $69,000 per year, and the lowest paid technicians earn about $33,000 per year.

X-ray technicians generally work in either physician’s offices, imaging facilities or hospitals. While most technicians are employed by medical facilities, some individuals purchase or lease their own equipment and are self-employed. Most employees generally work full-time on day, evening, or night shifts. Because x-rays are needed for emergency situations, seven days a week, beginning technicians may work nights and weekends.

Job Description

An x-ray technician follows instructions given by a physician to take images of a particular area of the body. The x-ray technician must explain the procedure to the patient prior to taking images, and answer any relevant questions. Some hospitals and medical facilities have technicians transport portable imaging equipment to patient rooms or emergency rooms. Some x-ray technicians also specialize in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), or mammography.

Duties of an x-ray technician:

  • Follow safety procedures regarding patient exposure to radiation using lead shields
  • Follow physician’s instructions regarding x-ray image to be taken
  • Communicate with patient about x-ray
  • Position patients for specific x-ray imaging
  • Adjust equipment to capture specific images of the body
  • Properly maintain imaging equipment
  • Maintain patient records
  • Develop exposed radiographs


X-ray technician qualifications vary depending on the state in which you are certified. An x-ray technician is required to have a GED or high school diploma, and to have completed either a certificate program, or an associate’s, or bachelor’s degree in radiology technology. Programs are offered at vocational schools, community colleges and universities. Classwork for x-ray technician students is combined with hands-on training in a medical facility.

Schools & Programs

To become an x-ray technician, hospitals, community colleges, vocational schools, and universities offer educational programs. Two-year associate’s degrees in radiology technology are the most common. Bachelor’s degrees allow x-ray technicians to eventually move up to supervisory positions in imaging facilities and hospitals. Programs are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/radiology/education/rte/docs/JRCERT-standards-accredited-educational-program-radiologic-sciences.pdf.

Some x-ray technician course requirements may include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical ethics
  • Radiation physics
  • Patient care and positioning
  • Radiation biology
  • Advanced medical imaging

Some schools that offer programs:

  • Allied Health Schools
  • Concordia University
  • Ultimate Medical Academy

Certification and Licensing

In many U.S. states, completion of an accredited radiologic technology program is required, as well as successfully passing an ARRT certification exam. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) administers the computer-based exam that includes 20 percent pilot questions, which help the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists focus on future areas in which to test. The fee for the exam ranges from $200 to $400. The length of the exam varies depending on the specific discipline covered. There are many types of certification that x-ray technicians can choose, including MRI and Mammography certification.

Continuing Education

X-ray technicians must complete 24 hours of continuing education units to renew their certification every two years.

Job Outlook

The employment outlook for x-ray technicians is very good according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov. Moderate growth by approximately 17% is expected through the year 2018. This is higher than the national average of projected growth for many careers. Because the aging population is living longer due to medical breakthroughs, there is continued need for diagnostic imaging technology.

Students possessing multiple certifications in various disciplines are more likely to find employment quickly.

Pharmacy Technician Salary, Education, Certification & Licensing

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication. They generally work in a retail location or hospital under the supervision of a pharmacist.


Median salary for a pharmacy technician is approximately $30,000 per year.

Pharmacy technicians can work full-time, but many also work part-time shifts. Because many independent pharmacies and grocery store locations are open nights and weekends, a pharmacy technician can expect to work those shifts in addition to some holidays..

Job Description

Pharmacy technicians give prescription medication to customers under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. Besides dispensing medication, they also arrange for customer consultations between the pharmacist and the customer if necessary, The pharmacist must review all prescriptions before they are dispensed to customers.


The duties of a pharmacy technician may vary with the setting, however generally duties include the following:

  • Wait on customers with new or incoming prescriptions
  • Answer phone calls from customers and prescription requests and instructions from physicians and other medical professionals
  • Measure medication and count tablets for prescriptions
  • Prepare medications such as ointments
  • Accept and process payment and insurance claims for medications

Employees that work in hospital or clinical settings may prepare a greater variety of medications. These may include intravenous medications. They may also give patients medications while in the hospital, http://www.pharmacyregulation.org/raising-concerns/raising-concerns-about-pharmacy-professional/what-expect-your-pharmacy/what-does.


All pharmacy technicians must earn a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. Individual states may require an exam or completion of a certification program to become a pharmacy technician. While some pharmacy technicians may learn skills on the job, many will get certified through vocational training and community colleges. Generally a certification program may be completed in one year or less.

Coursework may include a variety of classes involving:

  • Recordkeeping
  • Ways to dispense medication
  • Laws and ethics
  • Arithmetic

Most certification programs include internships in a hospital or retail setting to help students gain hands-on experience.

Schools & Programs

Many community colleges offer certificate programs for pharmacy technicians. There are a variety of vocational and technical schools that offer programs as well. Some of these include:

  • Kaplan College
  • American Career College
  • Allied Schools

Certification & Licensing

Pharmacy technicians are regulated by individual states. The Board of Pharmacy maintains information on regulatory requirements for pharmacy technicians. One or both of these certifications may be required by the state:

  • The Pharmacy Technician Certificate Board (PTCB) (PTCE)
  • Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT)

Both the ExCPT and PTCB exams are two-hour, computer-based tests. The cost to take the ExCPT is $95.00 and the charge for the PTCE test is $129.00. The PTCE exam is a 100-question test, while the ExCPT exam is 110 questions. You must be 18 years of age to take the ExCPT. You may not have been convicted of a felony within the past five years to sit for the PTCE and never have been convicted of a prescription related felony to be eligible to take the test.

Continuing Education

A pharmacy technician must complete 20 hours of continuing education within the two-year renewal period of the certification. This must include one hour of pharmacy law.

Many states require board certification as a condition of employment for pharmacy technicians. While it is not required by every state, certification may help those seeking employment to get a job. Hospitals or retail pharmacies may cover the cost of the certification exam for existing employees.

Job Outlook

The employment outlook for pharmacy technicians is excellent with an expected growth of 32 percent from 2010 to 2020. This is much faster than the projected average growth of all occupations for this period. Because pharmaceutical research is rapidly developing new medications to fight disease, and the senior population, who use the most prescriptions in the nation, is living longer, more medication is needed and available. This creates the necessity for more pharmacy technician jobs. The prospects for employment are good for individuals with prior retail experience and formal education and training.

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