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Can a Felon Become an X-ray Technician?

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What a challenge felons face after leaving prison! Nothing is the same after a felony conviction.

Felons often think no one will hire them, but there are resources available. Many employers have discovered that felons make good employees, although it might be in a new career.

This blog post will address the question of whether or not a felon can become an X-ray technician.

  • What is an X-ray Technician?
  • What Education/Training Does an X-ray Technician Need?
  • How Much Does an X-ray Technician Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action


What is an X-ray Technician?

An X-ray technician (X-ray technologist or radiological technologist) uses various imaging methods to “see inside” the human body. They create images to help physicians diagnose and treat illnesses or injuries. The majority of X-ray technicians work in a hospital while others may work in a medical clinic.

An X-ray technician deals with a variety of imaging techniques including:

  • Standard X-ray machines
  • CT scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Film and digital mammography

An X-ray technician typically does the following:

  • Adjusts and maintains imaging equipment
  • Follows orders from physicians on areas of the body to image
  • Prepares patients for procedures, including taking a medical history and answering questions about the procedure
  • Protects the patient by shielding exposed body areas that do not need to be imaged
  • Positions the patient and the equipment in order to get the correct image
  • Operates the computerized equipment to take the images
  • Works with physicians to evaluate the images and to determine whether additional images need to be taken
  • Keeps detailed patient records

A successful X-ray technician must have certain skills:

  • Caring and compassionate
  • Detail-oriented to pay attention to a physician’s orders to avoid mistakes
  • Organized to document a patient’s medical history
  • Dexterity skills to operate an X-ray machine
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills to relay information to a radiologist
  • Good patient skills to interact with and assist patients
  • Stamina to stand for long periods of time
  • Reading comprehension to understand written instructions from physicians
  • Ability to work independently while following specific instructions from a physician

What Education/Training Does an X-ray Technician Need?

The most common educational requirement for an X-ray technician is at least an associate degree. Education programs typically include both classroom study and clinical work. Coursework typically includes anatomy, pathology, patient care, radiation physics, and image evaluation.

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredits programs in radiography. Completing an accredited program is required for licensure in some states.

To become licensed, X-ray technicians must graduate from an accredited program, and pass a certification exam from the state or obtain a certification from a certifying body. Certifications for X-ray technicians are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

How Much Does an X-ray Technician Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there were approximately 264,000 X-ray technicians in the U.S. in 2021. This occupation is expected to show a 6% growth by 2031. The reason for this growth is the high demand due to the aging of the baby boomer population with accompanying diagnostic services for increased medical problems.

The median annual salary of an X-ray technician in 2021 was $61,980. The median salary is the one for which 50% earn more than this and 50% less. The bottom 10% will make less than $37,600 while the top 10% can expect to earn more than $90,000.

Experience will make a difference in how much an X-ray technician earns annually. The area of the country in which an X-ray technician works is also a factor in their earnings. Those on the East or West coast typically earn more than an X-ray technician that works elsewhere.

An Opportunity for Felons?

Many X-ray technician programs do a background check on applicants for their program. Relevant factors such as type of offense, potential for harm to the public, and potential for recurrence of criminal activity will be considered.

The type of felony, how long ago it occurred, and an applicant’s age at the time of the crime are usually considered in a decision on licensing. If a felon applies for an X-ray technician program, he or she needs to be honest in reporting any conviction(s).

Even if a felon is successful in being admitted to a program, completes it, and is certified as an X-ray technician, he or she still faces a challenge in finding a job as a technician.

At that point, it would be up to the individual employer to make a decision and possibly run a background check. A felony that isn’t disclosed but is discovered on a background check is fraud, punishable by being sent back to prison. It is challenging enough for felons, who are typically seen as dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their felony expunged can give them a clear record and the chance they need to succeed in becoming an X-ray technician. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that they have not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

Just as with anything else they face, it is a major challenge, but it could be worth it for felons wanting to become an X-ray technician. They have to give themselves the best chance for success by having their record expunged and getting the opportunity to declare on an application they have not been convicted of a felony.

They could also document any programs, education, or training they have completed. Having support from family and friends is essential. There may also be others like counselors or even previous employers.

A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime.  He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.  Becoming an X-ray technician could be a major step in that quest.

What do you think about this blog post? Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become an X-ray technician with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Can a Felon Become an X-ray Technician?”

  1. Yes. I’m a felon. 25 years ago.. I feel I be paid my dues . And should be able to choose any career. I get always wanted to work in the medical field.. il try to exsponge my recoer


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