X-Ray Tech School and College Program Information
Aspiring x-ray technicians can enroll in certificate, associate degree and bachelor's degree programs in radiography and radiologic technology. Most graduates of these programs become radiographic technologists or technicians, who can use x-rays to help physicians make medical diagnoses for patients.
Choosing an X-Ray Technician School
When choosing a program, it is important for an aspiring radiographic technician or technologist to become familiar with the certification and licensure requirements to work in his or her state because either certification or licensure is typically mandatory. In most cases, a student must graduate from a program that is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) to be qualified for both state licensure and for certification. The American Registry of Radiologic Technicians (ARRT) offers certification to graduates of accredited programs.
Students assessing a prospective school's competency can inquire as to the pass rate for graduates taking the ARRT certification exam. Similarly, students can ask about the percentage of graduates who find work within six months or a year of graduation. They may also ensure that a school's laboratory facilities are up-to-date and that the teachers hold sufficient work experience, certification and licensure.
Radiography Program Overviews
These programs are commonly designed for students who have already completed some postsecondary education, which could mean specific coursework or an associate's degree program. Programs can take 1-2 years to complete, and typically include coursework and laboratory experiences. Some courses could include patient care, abdominal radiography, clinical practice, positioning techniques, radiation biology and anatomy.
Associate's Degree in Radiography
A radiographic associate's program usually takes about two years to complete. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, obtaining an associate's degree is the most common pathway for individuals training to become radiographic technologists and technicians (www.bls.gov). The program should include lectures, labs and internships. X-ray radiography is part of the medical imaging field. Radiography students study subjects like medical terminology, sectional anatomy, radiation safety, equipment care and pathophysiology. Students also study how to communicate with, educate and care for patients.
Bachelor's Degree in Radiography
Accredited bachelor's programs are not offered as commonly as certificate and associate's degree programs, but they are available. They may be offered as completion options, which would build on previous education. Prerequisites might include radiography certification or the previous completion of an associate's degree program. Courses can include radiography procedures, positioning, medical terminology, biology and radiation safety. Online options may be available.
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