X-Ray Tech Degree Programs
The best way for an individual to become an X-ray tech is to attend a specialized program as opposed to looking for a related major within another discipline. Let's explore more about program options, coursework, and careers.
Students looking to become X-ray techs typically earn an associate's degree in X-ray technology or radiologic technology. These programs are often found at community colleges and vocational schools and may take two years of full-time work to complete. This program consists of both classroom and clinical work conducted on campus. Some training programs include training at an outside facility, such as a health center affiliated with the school.
While associate's degrees are the most common degree in this field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some states may only require a certificate to take the X-ray tech licensing test. Bachelor's degree programs in radiologic technology are also available for X-ray technicians looking for leadership or management positions.
X-Ray Tech Curricula
X-ray tech programs focus on courses such as anatomy and physiology, patient positioning, imaging, pathology, and radiation protection. Additional course topics cover patient care, medical law and ethics, patient confidentiality, and medical terminology. Students seeking X-ray technology or radiologic technology programs can also check for programs accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. This commission accredits certificate, associate's, and bachelor's degree programs.
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X-Ray Tech Career Overview
X-ray techs work in medical facilities and use radiology equipment to take X-rays and radiographs of patients as directed by a physician or radiologist. In order to produce X-rays, the X-ray technician must successfully set up the medical equipment in an appropriate manner, which involves avoiding radiation exposure on the patient, as well as positioning the patient in a way that produces the most efficient radiograph.
X-ray and radiologic technicians may also be in charge of conducting office work, such as keeping computerized records and setting up stations for physician use. They may also prepare work schedules, manage the radiologic department within a hospital, and evaluate purchased equipment within hospitals, community health centers, and private physicians' offices.
Most individuals interested in becoming X-ray technicians work towards acquiring an associate's degree in X-ray technology or radiologic technology, generally offered by community colleges and vocational schools. Management-related positions may require a bachelor's degree.