An X-ray technician, also known as a radiologic technologist, uses radiographic (X-ray) equipment, to prepare and create high-quality images of various parts of the body (bones, organs, tissues, and vessels) for the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illness by a radiologist, physician, or other health care professional.
X-ray Technician Schools and Radiology Schools
Because much of an X-ray technician's job requires operating powerful machinery, proper training is essential. X-ray technician training programs teach students both the theoretical and technical aspects of the job and prepare them for state licensing requirements.
Most formal radiography training programs, including those offered at the five radiology schools below, are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology:
- Canada College: This community college in the San Francisco Bay Area offers a radiologic technology program that gives students the skills to meet the needs of patients in the field.
- Chaffey College: This community college in southern California provides an associate degree in radiologic technology, with concurrent training held at health facilities affiliated with the college.
- Middlesex Community College: This college in Middletown, Connecticut offers an associate degree in radiologic technology that prepares students for entry-level employment in the field.
- Midwestern State University: Located in Wichita Falls, Texas, this college offers an Associate of Applied Science in radiologic technology that prepares students for the national certification examination.
- Southwestern Illinois College: The radiologic technology program offered by this college in Belleville, Illinois offers students both in-class and clinical experiences.
X-ray Technician Education Requirements
Formal training is required for this profession; radiologic schools range from one to four years (two year being the most common). Students can obtain training in a hospital and earn a certificate upon graduation, or in a technical school, college, or university where they would earn an associate's or bachelor's degree.
Typical radiology technician programs will include courses in:
- Advanced Imaging Procedures
- Clinical Radiography
- Diagnostic Radiology
- Human Anatomy and Structures
- Human Physiology / Body Functions
- Image Recording and Analysis
- Imaging Techniques / Imaging Equipment
- Medical Ethics
- Medical Terminology
- Patient Care
- Patient Management
- Radiation Safety and Protection
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Training is not limited to the classroom. Clinical rotations are also a key part of the education process where students have the opportunity to hone their learned technical knowledge and apply patient care skills while they work closely with experienced Radiologic Technologists, nurses, and physicians in radiology departments.
It is of interest to note that a large number of employers look to hire certified radiographers, and as such, voluntary certifications are available through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Eligibility for certification generally requires a technologist to graduate from an accredited training program and pass an examination. Recertification requires the completion of 24 hours of continuing education every two years.
X-Ray Technician Resources
- American Society of Radiologic Technologists
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Radiologic and MRI Technologists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm
- Canada College, http://www.canadacollege.edu/radtech/index.php
- Chaffey College, http://www.chaffey.edu/healthsciences/radtec/index.shtml
- Middlesex Community College, http://mxcc.edu/degrees/radtech/
- Midwestern State University, http://mwsu.edu/academics/hs2/radsci/index
- Southwestern Illinois College, http://www.swic.edu/RT-FAQ/