X-Ray Technician Schools in the U.S.

X-ray techs, also called radiographers or radiological technicians, take and develop X-ray images of patients' bodies for diagnostic purposes. Students who want to become X-ray technicians can complete a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree program in radiography.

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Selecting a School for X-Ray Technician Training

Radiography programs are offered by community and technical colleges as well as 4-year universities. There are programs geared toward those new to the field as well as degree completion programs for X-ray technicians who would like to advance their education.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Accreditation
  • Prerequisites
  • Hands-on experience opportunities
  • Certification exam passage rates and graduate employment rates

Accreditation

When choosing an X-ray technician training school, students should look for schools that are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or from one of the major regional academic accrediting bodies. This is important because the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists requires that students complete an accredited education program to be eligible for professional certification. In many states, the ARRT certification exam is used for state licensure (www.arrt.org).

Prerequisites

Some schools may require students to complete biology, physics and math courses before applying to the program. There are also schools that have experience requirements, which could include volunteer work in a radiology setting.

Hands-On Experience Opportunities

X-ray technician programs require hands-on laboratory courses. Look for schools with the most up-to-date laboratory equipment. Also, some hands-on training in X-ray technology may occur off campus in hospital or medical center locations. Students may need to secure transportation to off-site locations.

Certification Exam Passage Rates and Graduate Employment Rates

Aspiring X-ray techs may want to check a school's first-time ARRT exam pass rate to get a sense of the level of competency associated with a particular school's program. Students can inquire about how many of the school's graduates find employment in radiology within six months or one year after graduation.

X-Ray Technician Program Overviews

Certificate in Radiologic Technology

A Certificate of Achievement in Radiologic Technology includes instruction in using X-ray equipment and developing X-ray films. Students learn to position patients to ensure the most accurate picture while minimizing the radiation exposure. Students are required to complete supervised hands-on instruction in a clinical setting. Courses found in the program include:

  • Radiographic procedures
  • Radiobiology
  • Imaging modalities

Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology

An associate's degree in radiologic technology includes the coursework of a certificate program with the addition of general education classes. Students may have the option of taking elective courses in advanced radiologic technology. Clinical courses and internships are part of the program. Students take courses in:

  • Principles of radiography
  • Radiation protection
  • Cross-sectional anatomy

Bachelor's Degree in Radiologic Technology

A Bachelor of Science in Radiology Technology may be a 4-year program or a 2-year completion program designed for licensed radiographers. Both programs include coursework in advanced procedures and practices and typically include clinical training. Examples of courses include:

  • Health care management
  • Pathophysiology
  • Advanced radiologic procedures
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