Sonography Schools X-Ray Technician Programs And Info

Smiling team of doctors and nurses at hospital

There is no shortage of challenging, exciting, and promising careers in the healthcare field. The avenues and paths toward both success and helping the world are endless. And, because there are so many options to help treat patients and improve public health, it can be daunting to find the right path for you. There is time to consider educational requirements, personal values, and many other factors that play a part in finding the right career in the medical field. That is why we will be considering two popular healthcare careers: diagnostic medical sonographers and x-ray technicians, as well as discussing sonography schools and x-ray schools.

Diagnostic medical sonographers and x-ray technicians have become very popular career professions over the years. These degrees are coveted by many for various reasons and are just two of the many challenging, yet rewarding careers that the medical field has to offer. Both practices are vital to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and therefore, the people who make up this sector are important members of the healthcare field.

But, what do these careers entail? What can prospective x-ray technicians expect of their schooling and future career? What can potential ultrasound techs look for in sonography schools? What are the differences between the two jobs, and what are the education requirements for each of the programs? We will discuss all of that and more in this article.  We will give you information on x-ray technician schools and sonography schools as well.

Career Overview

As we mentioned before, x-ray techs and sonographers are vital members of the healthcare communities. The job responsibilities of these careers are harmonious with one another but also unique. So, before we contrast the two professions, let us consider similar daily job responsibilities.

Daily Responsibilities

Both diagnostic medical sonographers (sonographers) and x-ray technicians (x-ray techs) use specialized medical equipment to get images of the body. But, the job is so much more than that. Both careers involve engaging with patients, explaining procedures to them, and ensuring that patients are comfortable and feel secure. They also both make sure that patient records, including information on patient history, image interpretations, and medical reports remain organized, up to date, and secure.

Similar responsibilities include:

  • Greeting patients and explaining processes and procedures
  • Filling out patient records
  • Accurately maintaining patient records
  • Directing patients
  • Processing, producing, or recording images

So, what sets these two professions apart?

X-Ray Technicians

X-ray techs, also professionally known as radiologic technicians, take x-rays. Using radiological equipment and machines, they take x-rays of portions of the body to produce films. These images help doctors to diagnose, then treat illnesses accurately.

Typically, radiologic technicians work by first talking to patients, reviewing their medical history, and then explaining procedures and answering any questions that arise. Once patients are ready, technicians position them and the equipment, as well as shield the patients from radiation. They will then report to their physician with their results. Some x-ray techs work with a doctor who specializes in radiology; this physician is an expert in analyzing images and gives additional instruction for testing if needed.

X-ray technicians are not limited to only producing x-ray images. They might work with numerous imaging technologies such as conventional x-ray machines, film or digital mammography, fluoroscopy, computerized axial tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Because radiologic technicians work with all of this technology and complex machines that are continuously advancing, some techs choose to specialize in either a specific machine or clinal area.

Some of the x-ray technician’s daily responsibilities are to do the following:

  • Maintain and take care of the upkeep of imaging machines
  • Review doctor’s orders for x-rays
  • Prepare the x-ray room for patients
  • Greet patients
  • Give instructions concerning preparations for the procedure
  • Explain procedures to patients
  • Use protective devices and equipment to protect everyone from radiation exposure
  • Position patients on the x-ray table to ensure good image results
  • Position and adjust x-ray equipment and controls as necessary
  • Process radiographic exposures using film processors or computers
  • Review the exposures and re-take x-rays as necessary
  • Use digital picture archiving systems to guarantee x-rays are categorized and stored

Sonographers

Diagnostic medical sonographers are also known as ultrasound technicians or sonographers. The professionals, like x-ray techs, use advanced machinery to get images that help physicians diagnose and treat illnesses. The machines that sonographers use direct sound waves into the body. These waves create images of the body’s internal structure and can be used to identify organ, soft tissue, or blood flow problems, and to evaluate and diagnose medical conditions. Ultrasound technology is popular in obstetrics to view a developing fetus.

Ultrasound technician daily responsibilities are to do the following:
  • Greet patients
  • Explain procedures to patients 
  • Fill out patient records
  • Accurately maintain patient records
  • Direct patients to the ultrasound table and position them as needed to ensure best image results
  • Operate the ultrasound equipment
  • Produce and record images through proper use of equipment
  • Decide which images should be stored and discard others
  • Determine the extent of the imaging session based on findings
  • Report findings and consult with overseeing physicians

Educational Requirements

Prospective students looking to become either a sonographer or an x-ray tech should be prepared to complete about 2 years of school. Both careers require an associate’s degree or more to enter the fields. However, in some states, a 1-year certificate program may be enough to start working.

X-Ray Technician

It’s important to note that to become an x-ray tech, a student does not have to have a degree in radiology. Students who already have a degree can enroll in a short certificate program to jumpstart their new career. Certificate programs can take up to a year to complete but are usually much shorter.

For students who do not already have a degree, earning an Associate in Applied Science in radiography or radiologic technology (AAS-RADT) is the best and quickest path to be on their way to a career in x-ray technology. Depending on the state you plan to work in, once you complete your program of study, you may have to take an additional exam to become officially certified.

Sonographer

Prospective sonographers, much like radiologic technicians, must earn an associate’s degree to enter their career field. This training is usually very thorough and can typically be found at technical or vocation schools, community colleges, and some universities. Like x-ray techs, licensure requirements vary depending on the state one plans to work in. For the most part, gaining a certification is voluntary, but it may help with job prospects as it provides a professional assessment of skill. Coursework in sonography schools and programs focus on various topics including human anatomy, pathophysiology, ultrasound equipment, and obstetrics.

Sonography Schools And X-Ray Technician Programs

Whether you plan to enroll as a student for a certificate program or earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology or diagnostic medical sonography, be sure you select a program from an accredited institution.

For prospective x-ray technicians, your school should be accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). A growing number of states even require an accreditation from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Before applying to sonography schools or x-ray tech programs, do your research and be proactive. Check with your state’s medical board to make sure you are not missing vital information and that you are fulfilling the necessary requirements.

Interested sonography students should research sonography schools and programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. They should also prepare to take the relevant exams to become certified by ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography).

Conclusion

There is no shortage of challenging, exciting, and promising careers in the healthcare field. The avenues and paths toward both success and helping the world are endless. Diagnostic medical sonography and radiologic technology are just two examples of the rewarding careers the healthcare field has to offer. Both of these unique professions are vital to the diagnosis and treatment of numerous health problems.

Both sonographers and x-ray technicians use specialized medical equipment to get images of the body. But, their job is so much more than that. Both careers involve engaging with patients, explaining procedures to them, and ensuring that patients are comfortable and feel secure. Both professions also make sure that patient records, including patient history, image interpretations, and medical reports, remain organized, up-to-date, and secure.

X-ray techs, also professionally known as radiologic technicians, use radiological equipment and machines to take x-rays of portions of the body to produce films. These images help doctors to diagnose and treat illnesses accurately. X-ray techs work with numerous imaging technologies such as conventional x-ray machines, film or digital mammography, fluoroscopy, computerized axial tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Because radiologic technicians work with all of this complex machinery and technology that is continuously advancing, some techs choose to specialize in either a specific machine or clinal area. Those looking to become a radiologic technician should expect to complete two years at an accredited institution.

Diagnostic medical sonographers, like x-ray techs, use advanced machinery that directs sound waves into the body to get images that help physicians diagnose and treat illnesses. These images can be used to identify organ, soft tissue, or blood flow problems, and more. Those seeking a career in this field should attend accredited sonography schools. Programs typically last about 2 years.

So, now that we’ve discussed all you need to know about sonography and radiologic technology, we hope you’re more informed and more confident than ever about these two rewarding healthcare careers.