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 in radiography. These programs are offered by community and technical colleges as well as 4-year universities.
Selecting a School for X-Ray Technician Training
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).
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.
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.
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. Courses in anatomy, radiation protection, biology and patient care are also part of the program. 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.
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.
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.
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