Fields within the Medical Path (Part1)

Fields within the Medical Path (Part1)

Do you want aA medical field career, but aren’t sure what you want to do or where you will fit in? Thankfully, there are plenty of career options from which to choose, and not all of them require years of schooling and long residencies.

Perhaps you are interested in dealing directly with people and providing high quality customer service; if so, you might find working as a medical receptionist or hospital intake coordinator appealing. Medical assistants, nurse’s aides, and dental hygienists are just some of the careers that might appeal to those interested in medical field careers without investing years in school. If the idea of long-term training does not deter you, then any number of medical careers exists: physician, nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, physical therapist. Many of these upper level vocations require a minimum of four years in college, with most requiring graduate level work with clinical practice. These careers are challenging in both classroom and real life, but those who have the determination and discipline necessary to succeed in these areas will discover a lifelong, rewarding medical career.

X-ray Technician

X-ray technicians (also called radiology technicians) are specifically trained in medical imaging. X-ray techs focus mainly on taking clear and accurate X-ray films that help doctors (radiologists) diagnose fractures, illness, broken bones, and tumors. These technicians explain the X-ray procedure to patients, position the equipment properly to get the correct picture as requested by the physician, then take and develop the X-ray film. X-ray techs must be friendly, reassuring individuals who get along well with people. Patients are often anxious and fearful when having an X-ray performed. An X-ray technician must be understanding and compassionate. They also have to pay attention to details and follow a physician’s order to the letter. The X-ray tech is part of a team that works to heal patients and improve their well-being. Getting an optimum picture of a person’s internal structures helps the physicians see what’s actually going on inside a patient. The physician is then able to provide the best possible medical treatment for that person.

One doesn’t necessarily have to attend college to become an X-ray technician, although the majority of techs hold an associate’s degree (BLS, 2010). Many are trained in trade schools or vocational programs, and some receive certificates to practice. The certificate programs last approximately two years. Most states require X-ray technicians to be licensed, but requirements vary from state to state. The purpose of licensure is to protect the public and ensure that techs know how to properly operate radiologic equipment. According to the BLS Web site, X-ray techs occupied approximately 215,000 jobs in 2008, 61 percent of which were in hospitals. Other work environments for X-ray technicians include private doctors’ offices and diagnostic imaging clinics. The BLS anticipates a 17 percent growth rate for X-ray technician jobs over the next ten years. Most health care jobs fall into this category – growing faster than that of all other jobs. Our nation’s population is aging and will require more diagnostic tests like X-rays. It’s also a good idea for X-ray technicians to further their education and become certified in CT and MRI scanning. These forms of imaging require a slightly different knowledge base, but expanding one’s skill set makes one more marketable and attractive to those who hire X-ray technicians. The BLS notes that the average annual income for X-ray techs in 2008 was around $52,000. The techs that earned the most worked in the medical and diagnostic laboratory setting. For anyone who doesn’t relish the thought of spending years in school yet wants the excitement of being a member of the medical profession, becoming an X-ray technician is a rewarding option.