The work conducted by a radiology technician or an x-ray tech allows a doctor to see multiple internal images of a patient. Students can learn the science and technology behind the field by enrolling in a vocational program. The educational programs available prepare students to conduct radiologic tests in hospitals and medical facilities as technicians.
The field is comprised of diagnostic imaging used to see different parts of the human body. Several procedures exist depending on the part of the body that needs to be seen. For example, a basic x-ray is taken when a doctor thinks that a patient has broken a bone. When a doctor needs to see soft tissues surrounding the bones a technician will conduct fluoroscopy, which is done by having a patient drink a solution that maps out the body. Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scans are other common x-rays that technicians perform. This career related knowledge is gained by completing an educational program. Vocational colleges also offer certificate programs.
Working to complete a certificate program gives students the knowledge needed to enter a career. Education helps students develop the skills to work with patients and doctors by using the required technology. Certificate programs usually range from 21 to 24 months in length and give students all of the proper schooling needed. Some basic programs last one-year and give students the overall foundations of patient care and technology use. Students should choose programs that incorporate algebra and chemistry courses. These courses give students the science knowledge needed to work with the imaging technology and solution based x-rays used in the profession. Accredited programs prepare students to use safety precautions like lead shields; to protect patients from unneeded radiation. Learning to operate x-ray machines is also included in a curriculum.
Most students choose to begin training at the associate’s degree level because the length of time is nearly the same as most typical certificate programs. Educational study combines natural sciences and radiology courses to teach students to use x-ray machines. This knowledge is coupled with the important ability to understand and read taken x-rays. An associate’s degree covers general education in the first year of schooling. Students will be engrossed in career training during the second year of training. Clinical instruction gives students practice with developing images, positioning patients, and more.
Courses that teach career skills in both a certificate and associate’s degree program may include:
- Medical Terminology
- Function of the Human Body
- Radiographic Positioning
- Patient Care Procedures
- Radiation Protection
Although most states don’t require licensure, students are prepared to pass the certification exam given by the American Registry of Radiology Technologists upon completion of a vocational program. Students that choose to obtain licensure will be more competitive in the field. Further education is also available at the bachelor’s degree level.