Dental X-Ray Technician Schools: How to Choose

Jan 02, 2019

Students interested in careers as dental X-ray technicians should select colleges that offer dental assistant associate's degree or diploma programs. There are no schools that specifically award a dental X-ray technician degree or diploma, but many community colleges that offer dental assistant programs include dental X-ray training courses as part of the curriculum. Read on to learn about choosing the right school for you and to see some schools that offer programs in this field.

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Although dental X-ray technology programs are not typically available, individuals may choose to enroll in a dental assisting diploma or associate's degree program that covers X-ray technology. These programs can be taken through the health care departments of career colleges, technical institutes and community colleges.

Schools with Dental X-Ray Technician Courses

At these schools, students can earn enroll in a dental assisting program:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Albany Technical College Albany, GA 2-year, Public Diploma $2,652 in-state, $4,792 out-of-state
Amarillo College Amarillo, TX 2-year, Public Certificate $2,010 in-district, $3,042 in-state, $4,578 out-of-state
Bates Technical College Tacoma, WA 2-year, Public Associate's $3,681 in-state, $8,676 out-of-state
Chaffey College Rancho Cucamonga, CA 2-year, Public Associate's, Certificate $1,153 in-state, $6,217 out-of-state
Daytona State College Daytona Beach, FL 4-year, Public Certificate $3,282 in-state, $12,352 out-of-state
Elgin Community College Elgin, IL 2-year, Public Certificate $2,868 in-district, $10,439 in-state, $11,959 out-of-state
Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA 2-year, Public Certificate $1,551 in-state, $8,391 out-of-state
Lake Michigan College Benton Harbor, MI 4-year, Public Associate's, Certificate $4,140 in-district, $5,685 in-state, $5,685 out-of-state
Manor College Jenkintown, PA 2-year, Private Certificate $16,550

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Here are some factors that aspiring dental X-ray technicians should consider when searching for a program:

  • Students should consider length of programs, as associate's degree programs are longer and include general education, while diploma and certificate programs take less time and focus specifically on dentistry.
  • In order to train on dental X-ray equipment, students may want to check that schools have been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA.)
  • Training on equipment will be helpful in honing X-ray technician skills, so students should check that schools offer X-ray-related courses like dental radiography, radiation safety and X-ray production.
  • It can be helpful to find out if the program provides sufficient training for the Radiation Health and Safety exam or the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam, both of which are offered by the Dental Assisting National Board, and are required for work in many states.

Diploma in Dental Assisting

The dental assisting diploma program takes one year to 18 months to complete. Laboratory work is required for many classes. Courses in radiography may be part of this program, but students who wish to operate X-ray equipment may need to seek additional training to attain the CDA credential or pass the Radiation Health and Safety examination.

Associate of Science in Dental Assisting

The Associate of Science in Dental Assisting is a 2-year program offered mainly by community colleges. This program includes hands-on training, as well as courses in advanced dental equipment functions, including X-ray equipment.

By earning an associate's degree, diploma or certificate in dental assisting, aspiring dental X-ray technicians can get the training they need to take certification exams and start working in the field. Choosing a program that focuses specifically on x-ray operation with equipment is ideal for students interested in this field.

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