For someone that is considering becoming an x-ray technician, there are various different factors that should be considered when searching for X-Ray tech programs. In this article, we will help navigate some of the information that should be considered when deciding between the different programs.
Determine the Best Type of Program
There are various different paths and degrees for an x-ray technician, therefore, it is important to determine what degree you want before looking through the programs. A technician may either have a certificate, an associate’s degree, an associate’s degree with supplemental certificates, or a bachelor’s degree.
There are programs that focus just on radiology or have a healthcare focus. It should be decided if you want your overall education to focus on healthcare with radiology being a piece of your education or if you want to specifically focus on radiology. The difference between the two programs will determine how in depth your education will go into x-rays.
Choosing the Right Technician School
After you’ve looked through the different programs and selected the right type of program for you, the next step is to decide which school you’d like to complete your technician education for x ray tech at. During this step, you should look at the specific information regarding the programs at the school including the financial aspects, the timelines, the start dates, and how long the terms are.
Have a goal in mind when looking at the specifics so you can find which school has the best technician school that matches your goals the most closely. Map out what your budget is, how long you want to spend before becoming a technologist, a timeline of when you’d like to be completed, and when you want to become an x-ray technician. You should also look at potential employers and understand their education requirements to ensure your program offers the x ray experience that is necessary.
Your X-ray Tech Programs should include:
- Foundational Patient Care as it relates to an x-ray tech
- Foundational information on Ethics as it relates to an xray tech
- Foundational information on Pathology as it relates to an x-ray tech
- Foundational information on Anatomy as it relates to an x-ray tech
- Foundational information on Image Analysis as it relates to x-ray tech
It is important that you can understand foundational information such as the topics above. Ensure that education touches on the basic information too, even though some of it may seem that it is common sense, it is still important to learn and refresh yourself. There may be information that you thought you knew that you did not.
There may also be information that is included that is not specific to the area that you expect to work in. However, it is still important to learn all that you can so that you are able to move around in the career if you determine that the specific path you chose is not for you. While it is OK to specialize, ensure that you are receiving general and foundation education in your schooling too.
There are programs that can meet different timeline commitments. A short-term x-ray technician certificate program can be completed in as little as 6 to 12 months. For those that want to have an associate’s degree as a technician, they will be looking at x-ray schooling of approximately 2 years. Those that are looking at the bachelor’s degree for x-ray technician can expect to be in school for approximately 4 years.
It is important that you understand the difference in the education that the programs are offering. It is also important that you understand which of the programs meet the requirements that your ideal x-ray job would accept for their position.
When looking at the timelines, it is important to understand what information is being omitted. It is apparent that a 6-month certificate will not offer the same depth of knowledge that a 4-year degree would offer. Take time to understand the differences in the syllabus and make a decision if that information is pertinent to what your goals are.
In addition to the previous foundational learnings that were previously mentioned, the x-ray programs should prepare a technician to be able to live a day in the life of an x-ray technician. The school should prepare the tech how to use the following equipment:
- Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT)
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Often the programs will give a foundational learning on how to use the mentioned equipment. There should be an understanding how in depth you want to go. There are supplemental certificates that can be obtained for each of these categories if you should want to specialize in a specific area. Therefore, your education can consist of an associate’s degree with a certificate in specialized care for patient mammography.
Regardless which location you select, an x-ray tech should be prepared for several aspects. Technicians are often on their feet throughout the entire day, so come prepared to wear comfortable shoes when. Also, be prepared to be in shape since x-ray technicians may also need to help position their patients, especially if they are dealing with patients that are either not very mobile or may be elderly.
Most of the x-ray programs will allow the tech to have some hands-on experience. Therefore, the potential tech should be ready to work flexible hours. X-ray techs often are expected to work nights, weekends, days, and sometimes even holidays. Ensure that you are taking this information into consideration when you are making your selection between the different schools.
Look at the on-hands experience that is being offered in the different programs and make sure that this will fit into your plans. The on-hands experience should also correlate with your overall goals to ensure that you are receiving the education and experience that will take you the furthest that you want to go in your overall experience as being an x-ray tech.