X-ray technician students, also known as radiography students, learn to prepare patients for procedures as well as safely take radiographic images. In North Carolina, studies in this field are offered at several technical and community colleges. Most programs are available at the associate degree level; one school detailed in this article also offers an undergraduate diploma program in magnetic resonance imaging as well as a certificate program in computed tomography.
Programs combine lectures with labs and clinical experiences. On-campus clubs for radiologic technology or radiography students can allow for more immersive experiences. Program applicants may need to submit to a background check and drug screening; they may also need to complete prerequisite courses in anatomy and physiology and pass an assessment exam. All x-ray technician programs discussed in this article are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
At this college in Asheville, students can enroll in an Associate in Applied Science in Radiography. Admission is dependent upon passing a background check and drug screening and submitting immunization records. Course topics for the 5-semester program include basic anatomy and physiology, radiography procedures, patient care, introductory radiography, radiographic imaging and radiographic physics. Students must also complete five radiography clinical experiences and a capstone course. They can also join the Radiology Club.
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
Hudson's Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute offers a 5-semester associate degree program in radiography. The curriculum includes a combination of lectures, labs and clinical experiences that train students to use radiation correctly and safely. Students learn to provide patient care and perform radiographic procedures. Courses cover radiographic imaging, radiographic procedures, clinical education and image analysis.
Fayetteville Technical Community College
The associate degree program in radiography at this Fayetteville college takes five semesters to complete, including a summer semester. Students take courses in radiography procedures, patient care, imaging and physics. They also complete five radiography clinical experiences and can join the Radiography Club.
Forsyth Technical Community College
Radiography students in the 5-semester associate degree program at this Winston-Salem community college engage in a series of labs and lectures and complete clinical experiences at one of 20 hospitals, physician's offices and imaging sites in the area. Upon completion of the program, students should be able to position and communicate with patients, interact with other health professionals and use radiation equipment.
Johnston Community College
Johnston Community College, located in Smithfield, offers an Associate in Applied Science in Radiography. Students learn to process x-ray images, protect their patients from radiation, provide high-quality patient care and follow correct radiographic procedures. The 2-year program includes a summer semester and courses in introductory radiography and patient care, radiography procedures, radiographic imaging, radiographic physics, image analysis and radiographic protection. It also includes five clinical experiences in radiography.
Lenoir Community College
Students at Lenoir Community College's radiography associate degree program in Kinston learn to take images of the human body and provide excellent care. They study radiographic imaging and principles, complete clinical experiences and learn about providing protection to patients. They must take 16 credit hours of general education coursework that includes basic anatomy and physiology. Students can also join the campus radiography club, Radiant Beams.
Pitt Community College
Pitt Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Radiography to students in the Winterville area. Participants complete a series of clinical rotations at local health care facilities, including hospitals and clinics. They also complete courses in radiographic procedures, radiographic imaging, protection and radiographic physics. The program takes five semesters to complete.
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
This Salisbury college offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in radiography that prepares graduates to apply their clinical skills at a professional level and interact competently and compassionately with patients. Course topics include radiographic exposure, patient care, image processing, quality assurance and radiographic procedures. Students rotate through nine clinical locations, which are spread throughout four counties. They can also join the campus Radiography Club, which is designed to promote professionalism.
Sandhills Community College
Sandhills Community College is located in Pinehurst. To be admitted into the associate degree program in radiography, students must complete prerequisite courses in anatomy and physiology, take an admission assessment exam and pass a background and drug test. Courses in imaging, physics, procedures and patient care in radiography provide them with theories and knowledge, while a series of clinical rotations provides practical experience. Students can also join the campus Radiology Technology Club.
Wake Technical Community College
Students attending Wake Technical College in Raleigh can pursue a 21-month Associate in Applied Science in Radiography, a 3-semester Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) diploma or a 2-semester Certificate in Computed Tomography (CT). The associate degree program trains enrollees to use radiation to take images of the human body, while the MRI and CT programs are designed as specializations for individuals who are already working in the field. All of the programs train individuals to use specialized equipment and provide patient care through courses and clinical rotations that develop professionalism and competence. Students can also join the Student Radiologic Technology Association.
North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that, as of June 2016, does not require licensing for radiologic technologists. However, the North Carolina Society of Radiologic Technologists is attempting to affect legislative change in the state that would require licensing standards similar to those in most states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in states that do require licensing, x-ray technicians must earn a certificate, associate degree or bachelor's degree in radiologic technology or radiography and pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists' national licensure exam. Regardless of the lack of licensing requirements, the state has an ample supply of accredited programs in radiography.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||X-Ray Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-16)|
|Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College||2-year, public; small city||Associate in Applied Science in Radiography||$2,419 in-state, $8,563 out-of-state*|
|Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute||2-year, public; midsized suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Radiography||$2,444 in-state, $8,588 out-of-state*|
|Fayetteville Technical Community College||2-year, public; midsized city||Associate in Applied Science in Radiography||$2,394 in-state, $8,538 out-of-state*|
|Forsyth Technical Community College||2-year, public; midsized city||Associate of Applied Science in Radiography||$2,025 in-state, $6,631 out-of-state*|
|Johnston Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Associate in Applied Science in Radiography||$2,401 in-state, $8,545 out-of-state*|
|Lenoir Community College||2-year, public; distant town||Associate in Applied Science in Radiography||$2,423 in-state, $8,567 out-of-state*|
|Pitt Community College||2-year, public; midsized suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Radiography||$2,317 in-state, $8,376 out-of-state*|
|Rowan-Cabarrus Community College||2-year, public; midsized suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Radiography||$2,506 in-state, $8,650 out-of-state*|
|Sandhills Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Associate in Applied Science in Radiography||$2,401 in-state, $8,545 out-of-state*|
|Wake Technical Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Radiography,
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Diploma,
Certificate in Computed Tomography
|$2,768 in-state, $8,912 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator