Online X-Ray Technician Schools
If you want to work as a x-ray technician, you may have wondered how much education you need to get started. While training for this profession, you might work in hospitals, colleges, or universities, and employers prefer to hire technicians with formal training in the field. You can begin to train for this field immediately upon graduation from high school, begin to work, and then continue your education and advance your career while working. You are eligible for entry-level positions in this field with just an associate’s degree, which typically takes around two years to complete.
Hospital x-ray technicians usually have a high school background heavy in math and the sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology. This high school diploma, or an equivalent, is necessary before you continue with any education or certification. If you plan to attend college, you can begin with a two-year associate’s degree in a health care field, such as a medical assistant associate degree program with an x-ray curriculum. Graduates of these programs also qualify to take the medical assistant exams given by the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants.
You also can study to obtain a degree in radiologic technology, which can expand your choices of using more diagnostic equipment such as CT or MRI machines. The ability to use this more advanced equipment allows you to advance into diagnostic fields such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The programs provide both classroom and clinical instruction in:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Patient Care Procedures
- Radiation Physics
- Radiation Protection
- Principles of Imaging
- Medical Terminology
- Positioning of Patients
- Medical Ethics
No matter where you work upon receiving your degree, most states require x-ray technicians to be licensed. One way to prepare for a higher education in x-ray technology is to read about what the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology expects from future diagnostic technicians. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology accredits most formal training programs for the radiography field. In addition to the JRCERT, there are two other main bodies that either accredit or offer certification in various fields of radiology. These include The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the American Board of Radiology. If you follow all three of these organizations closely, you will be kept up to date with the latest in radiologic news and technology.
If you want to advance to radiography, formal training programs in radiography range from one to four years and provide a foundation that prepares you for certification. This means that an associate’s degree is very appropriate, but you may want to go for a bachelor’s or master’s degree if you intend to work as a supervisor, administrator, or as a teacher. Obtaining a more advanced degree will not only help prepare you for better jobs, but can also help you earn a higher salary as well.
Some one-year certification programs for radiography are available for experienced individuals who arrive to this profession through other health care occupations such as medical technologists or registered nurses. Preparation for this profession is offered in hospitals, colleges and universities, and sometimes through vocational-technical institutes. They offer those already in the field with a quicker way to change positions without having to pursue another degree.
Federal legislation protects workers and the public from the hazards of unnecessary exposure to medical and dental radiation by ensuring that x-ray equipment operators are properly trained. Under this legislation, the federal government sets voluntary standards that states may use for accrediting training programs and licensing individuals who engage in medical or dental radiography. This helps to ensure the health and safety for both professionals and patients who come in contact with this radiation.
With experience and additional training, staff technologists may become specialists, performing CT scanning, MRI, and angiography, a procedure during which blood vessels are x-rayed to find clots. Technologists also may advance, with additional education and certification, to become a radiologist assistant. Ask your potential schools which programs they have available to get a better understanding of which path interests you more.