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X-Ray Technician Training

By: CareerFactsheet editors- Updated: Jul 10,2012

Becoming an x-ray technician requires specialized training on the use of diagnostic imaging equipment such as x-ray, CT scans, MRI, and ultrasound machines, and others. Among the many tasks and responsibilities of a radiology technician are communicating and guiding patients through the designated imaging procedures, maintenance of patient records, adherence to radiology safety procedures, and preservation of imaging equipment.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the population of practitioners in this field is expected to grow by about 17% come 2018, thus, the interest in becoming a licensed radiologic technologist also increases. So, how does one penetrate this medical field?

Education Requirements

The training for radiology technicians vary from a six-month course to four years of study. To gain acceptance into the program, the minimal requirement is a high school diploma. From this, one can choose the program to study and the school to enroll in. Career shifters are also accepted as well as those who are already in the medical field, but would like to start a career as x-ray technician.

X-Ray Technician Training Programs

X-Ray Technician Training
Students may choose from three training options to get into the program.

Certificate. The certificate program is the shortest way to get started in a career as x-ray technician. Technically, there are two types of certificate programs: radiology certificate for beginners and certificate for special programs of study. Typically, these programs can be completed within a period of six months to a year that is why this is also called "fast track" radiologic technician training.

Associate's degree. This program can be completed within two years of study and is a student's stepping stone to achieving a bachelor's degree. More in-depth when it comes to knowledge and curriculum, this degree is a combination of lectures and laboratory classes.

Bachelor's degree. The bachelor's degree program is a four-year course that prepares students for managerial and leadership roles in the future. In addition, this can lead to a master's program if a student or practicing technician wants further studies in the field.

X-Ray Technician Program Curriculum

General education subjects are required for this course, including math, computer literacy, and sciences. Under this program, students learn about the following fields of study:

Basics of Radiography. This subject teaches about nursing measures, safety procedures, and medical ethics, including x-ray modes and techniques.

Patient Positioning. The study of positioning procedures involving patients' upper and lower extremities, shoulders, chest, spinal column, pelvis, and other body parts. Typically, students undergo clinical lab sessions apart from lectures. Likewise, this course also involves learning about dealing with the emotional and physical requirements of patients with their families.

Diagnostic Imaging Equipment. Introductory course on the use of various imaging devices and equipment, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), fluoroscopy, computer tomography (CT), ultrasound, and radiation therapy equipment.

Radiation Biology. This subject illustrates how radiation affects living systems as well as its side effects on cells and body tissues.

Breast Anatomy, Pathology, and Physiology. Study of breasts and its functions, including cause of illness, processes involved in treating breast cancer, and development and after-effects of diseases involving breasts.

X-Ray Technician Training Options

Would-be students have two options when it comes to attending x-ray technician schools.

On-campus Education – one of the most common ways of being trained as radiologic technologist, students who do not have jobs can study on full time basis. The advantage of this set up is that students can easily communicate with their teachers as well as fellow students. After completing this course, students are expected to apply his or her knowledge during the on-the-job training.

Online Education – this set up does not require students to be in school the whole day. Instead, lectures are sent through emails, discussion boards, and web conferencing. But because students are required to learn about the more complicated routines and patient care, some classes need to be done on-campus.

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