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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 use x-rays to help physicians make medical diagnoses for patients.

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Choosing an X-Ray Technician School

Many programs are offered at community colleges and state schools. 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.

Considerations

  • Accreditation and certification
  • Level of Award
  • Facilities and faculty

Accreditation and Certification

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 might wish to inquire as to the pass rate for graduates taking the ARRT certification exam and the percentage of graduates who find work within six months or a year of graduation.

Level of Award

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). However, certificates are available for those who already hold a degree. Bachelor's degree programs are also available, though not as common.

Facilities and Faculty

Students may want to 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

Radiography Certificate

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. Coursework includes:

  • Patient care
  • Abdominal radiography
  • Positioning techniques
  • Radiation biology
  • Anatomy

Associate's Degree in Radiography

A radiographic associate's program usually takes about two years to complete. The program should include lectures, labs and internships. Students study how to communicate with, educate and care for patients. They take classes in medical terminology, pathophysiology and sectional anatomy, as well as:

  • X-ray radiography
  • Radiation safety
  • Equipment care

Bachelor's Degree in Radiography

Accredited bachelor's degree programs are not offered as commonly as certificate and associate's degree programs, but they are available. Some schools offer them as bachelor's degree completion programs for those with a lower level of training in the field and certification. Courses can include:

  • Radiography procedures
  • Positioning
  • Medical terminology
  • Biology
  • Radiation safety
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