The Pros & Cons of Becoming an X-Ray Technician in California vs Certified Radiologic Technologist

Why do some people aspire to become a Certified Radiologic Technologist, while others dream of becoming an X-Ray Technician in California? Both X-Ray Tech & CRT offer excellent careers in Radiology and hold substantial merit in the world of Diagnostic Healthcare. But let’s examine why some people choose one path over the other.

The debate is as long-standing as the careers in Radiology themselves. One half decides they want to become a Certified Radiologic Technologist, while the other is obsessed with becoming an X-Ray Technician in California. Both career paths have their pros and cons. That said, we’ve seen a recent uptick in meeting people who want to become an X-Ray Tech instead of becoming a Certified Radiologic Technologist.

Job Availability for People Who Want to Become an X-Ray Technician in California

Job availability is a key factor for those who want to become an X-Ray Technician in California. Many of our X-Ray Tech students are experiencing a fast-paced job market once they graduate. This number may fluctuate annually, but right now the job market is very active for our X-Ray Technician grads! Have you noticed how many new clinics and urgent cares being built in Southern California? The feedback we’re getting from most employers is that there are currently more job openings than there are X-Ray Technicians. Furthermore, if you’re a bi-lingual Spanish speaker in California, the career opportunities can be even greater.

The real challenge for most new graduates of any Radiological Technologist Program is where will you find work. Certified Radiologic Technologists usually work in a large hospital setting. That said, there haven’t been many new hospitals being built here in Southern California. In fact, we’ve seen several hospitals close here in the last few years, creating greater competition at the CRT level.

The challenge is for most Radiological Technologists is that the do not have the Medical Assisting skills. Because of this, many clinics will not hire them. Clinical sites are looking for the X-Ray Technician License alongside the Medical Assistant certification.  So the question is, as a recent graduate who just received their Radiological Technologist license, where do you find work?

Certified Radiologic Technologist vs. X-Ray Technician Job Competition

Remember that once you graduate as a Certified Radiologic Technologist, you are now competing for jobs with all newly-licensed CRT graduates. This means you will be fighting to outshine all of the other graduates in the other competing CRT Programs in Southern California — about 8 to 10 Radiology Schools total.  This quickly adds up to heavy competition in an already competitive Certified Radiologic Technologist job market. The X-Ray Technician instructors at our school are all Radiological Technologists.  Our Program Director is a CRT as well;  if you get a chance to speak with them, feel free to ask them to outline the current CRT job climate.

On the other hand, at this time, the job market is wide open with opportunities for X-Ray Technicians throughout Orange County and Los Angeles County. The recent growth of clinics and urgent cares plays a big part in this.  Most people who become X-Ray Technicians in California work a 40 hour workweek and typically find plenty of opportunities. This is also attributed to the fact that our X-Ray Technicians cross-train as Medical Assistants. Radiologic Technologists on the other hand, typically start working part-time or on-call or compete with CRT’s with seniority at hospitals. There are no guaranteed amount of hours, and the competition can be stiff — both with the new grads and current hospital rosters.

Radiologic Technologist vs. X-Ray Technician Salaries & Pay in California

While an X-Ray Technician starts at a lower hourly pay-rate, they are generally find work quickly. Most X-Ray Techs find a full 40-hour workweek in clinics, sports & physical rehabilitation offices, imaging facilities, orthopedic offices and more. Meanwhile, recent Certified Radiologic Technologist graduates are bound-up in competition & seniority challenges at the hospital-level.

So while an X-Ray Technician makes less money than a Certified Radiologic Technologist, you can generally find steady work and lots of it. Another key factor is that X-Ray Technicians receive the Medical Assistant / Back Office training at our Orange County school. Having those Medical Assisting skills keeps you working and on the clock! As a result of the recent boom in small clinics and specialized imaging centers throughout Southern California, coupled with the demand for licensed X-Ray Technicians, we’re seeing a lot of employers raise their X-Ray Tech wages.

All that said, which educational path makes more sense to you? Pay is important, but let’s explore some of the other factors that can affect your decision as well…

Long Wait Lists for Certified Radiologic Technologists in California

Other benefits of becoming an X-Ray Technician in California vs. becoming a Radiologic Technologist is you skip the wait list. If you’re absolutely certain you want to become a CRT in SoCal, get ready to wait. There’s currently an estimated 4 to 5 year wait to join the Radiology program at most Southern California Community Colleges. This may work for some people, but for most aspiring CRT’s we meet, it’s just too long of a wait. The kicker is that you also have to get your pre-requisites done before joining the Radiologic Technologist Program at California schools, and even those are impacted heavily.

So what’s the workaround?

If you’re certain you want to become a Certified Radiologic Technologist, but don’t have 5 years to spare, start by becoming an X-Ray Technician in California first. After graduating from an accredited X-Ray Technician Program like the one at Modern Technology School, you can plan a path to your goal. Instead of returning to a community college (where you’ll probably wait some more), you simply begin working as an X-Ray Tech for a year.

There are a few advantages to becoming an X-Ray Technician in California first:

  • You’ll skip the waiting list at the Certified Radiologic Technologist Program at Community Colleges
  • No need to take a bunch of impacted pre-requisite courses first (the pre-req’s are built-into the program!)
  • You can begin working in the field immediately and generating income
  • Network & make connections — meet employers, build your Radiology & Diagnostic Network

Other Factors that Can Affect Your Decision of Becoming an X-Ray Technician in California vs. Radiologic Technician

The last thing to consider when deciding whether to become an X-Ray Technician in California or a Radiologic Technologist is your stomach. We ask students that tell us they want to become a CRT if they are comfortable with working around high-trauma. While X-Ray Techs work in small clinics and imaging labs, Radiologic Technologists usually work/start in Emergency Rooms. As a CRT you not only have to be comfortable with blood & trauma, but also working in a fast-paced environment. One where a few seconds could mean life or death for an unconscious patient who was just wheeled in on a stretcher. Another thing to consider are the hours — do you want to work regular clinic hours as an XT or do you prefer the graveyard hours of the ER?

Call Modern Technology School if You Want to be a Radiologic Tech or Become an X-Ray Technician in California!

Modern Technology School offers the best X-Ray Technician Program in Orange County. If you want to become a Certified Radiologic Technologist in California, we can help fast-track your dreams. In the meantime, you can begin working as an XT once you’re licensed and also have the Medical Assistant certification to back your career up. Instead of sitting on a waiting list or fighting for classes, you can build your network while earning a living.

Our X-Ray Technician Program in Orange County lasts 11 months. We offer Clinical Internship to all of our X-Ray Technician Students. We also offer various forms of Financial Aid to those that qualify. Our X-Ray School tuition is all-inclusive, so you get your books, classes and scrubs as part of the package! We offer Evening / Night X-Ray Classes as well, and both are coupled with Certified Medical Assistant Program — one tuition, two sets of skills!

Our friendly and helpful Admissions Advisor, Dirk, is here to meet with you one-on-one and answer your questions. If you’re dreaming of being a Radiologic Technologist or becoming an X-Ray Technician in California, start by calling Modern Technology School. We’ve met enough students to understand that everyone’s needs may differ. While other X-Ray Technician Schools may want to fill you with boilerplate information, we’d like to listen to you. We feel that learning about our students’ goals is the most important part of mapping a proper career path.

  • Call us at 714-418-9100 and let us answer your questions about how becoming an X-Ray Technician in California may be the right path for you, even if your end goal is to become a Radiologic Technician!

More Resources for Future X-Ray Technicians and Radiologic Technologists

To find out more about our X-Ray Tech Course and what it’s like becoming an X-Ray Technician in California, click here!

Click here if you’d like more details about the X-Ray Tech Program at Modern Technology School and how we can help you become an X-Ray Technician in California!