Ultrasound Technician Schools Xray Technician Programs and Info

The state in which the X-ray technician practices has much to say about the educational requirements they must pass. The most common requirement is the associate's degree. The student must also pass the certification exam, take part in continuing education, and maintain their registration to include 'R.T.' after their name. It is important to research the ultrasound technician schools you plan on attending with your future location in mind. Pay close attention to the curriculum and any certificate and/or baccalaureate programs they offer as states vary in their requirements.

What Is an X-Ray Technician?

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The X-ray technician (radiographer, x-ray technologist) is an individual being supervised by a radiologist, operating radiologic imaging equipment. Daily duties may include: performing non-invasive procedures using x-ray machines, such as computerized axial tomography (CAT), mammography, x-ray, and positron emission tomography (PET). The X-ray technician typically has one area they specialize in. Technicians who pursue training in two or more types of imaging become valuable employees and enjoy faster advancement in their careers. One area an X-ray tech can add to their resume is medical imaging training (sonography) offered by ultrasound technician schools.

Educational Requirements

Program requirements vary according to the specific ultrasound technician schools you're looking into and the degree level you seek. Your training will take between 21 to 24 months resulting in a certificate in radiology. There are two-year associate programs in over 300 career colleges in the United States accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. There are also universities that offer a bachelor's degree in radiology which takes 4 years.

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The CAAHEP (the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) or another local organization should accredit the program you choose. The CAAHEP works directly with the Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JR-DMS), along with other expert institutes and societies related to the field of ultrasound technology, in setting the standards each school must follow to maintain their accreditation.

Admission requirements also vary according to each specific program. However, most programs require the student to have a high school diploma or a GED with good grades in math and science. Many associate programs in ultrasound technician schools teach how to care for and use imaging equipment accompanied by classes such as:

  • Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • Medical ethics
  • Logic and critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Basic medical skills (vital signs, drawing blood, CPR)
  • Physical Education

The curriculum may also require students attending ultrasound technician schools to take part in an externship before receiving their degree. This may include serving in a hospital or clinic to get real-time experience in assisting other technicians. Here, the tech can put into practice the skills they've learned in class. Completing a post-secondary program is useful for the X-ray technician and are available at the certificate, associate degree, and bachelor degree levels. Ultrasound technician schools comprise a combination of classroom and laboratory instruction focusing on:

  • Medical terminology
  • Patient positioning
  • Radiation protection
  • Infection control
  • Radiation pathology

Certification

Once the X-ray technician program is complete, the graduate can get their certification through ARRT, the organization that awards the Registered Technologist (RT) credential. Although the process is not always mandatory, many employers seek to hire technicians who have their certification with some states requiring certification before awarding a license. Certification eligibility requires applicants to have graduated from an accredited program and pass a written exam (a 4-hour test containing 220 multiple-choice questions scored on a pass or fail basis).

Recertification

The ARRT requires individuals to either pass an exam every two years or complete 24 continuing education credits to maintain their certification. This assures that the individual is familiar with the latest radiological technology while showing their commitment to learning the latest methods, breakthroughs, and techniques in the profession.

Licensure

Before applying for employment, the X-ray tech should attain licensure as most states require it. Licensure requirements are not the same in all states as licensure periods in many states can range between 1-4 years. There are eleven states that have no laws about licensure of X-ray technicians, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Since 2012, every state requiring licensure accepts ARRT exams for licensure. Several states have provided alternatives, such as exams which are state specific or the American Registry of Clinical Radiography Technologists exam.

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When researching ultrasound technician schools, consider which schools offer the programs best suited to your career goals. Earning your degree as an X-ray technician will allow you to operate special imaging equipment that creates images and/or conduct diagnostic tests that help physicians diagnose and treat specific medical conditions and illnesses.

Ultrasound technician schools offering X-ray technician programs should equip the student to earn a certificate or associate degree and/or a bachelor's or master's for advancement after hire. The Joint Review Committee must accredit the X-ray technician program on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) or another accrediting agency approved by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Once certified, X-ray technicians may pursue additional certification from ARRT and work as a radiologist's assistant, or focus on specializing in operating diagnostic equipment, such as a CT scanner or MRI machine.

A technician can also teach classes, become a sales representative for radiologic equipment manufacturers, or work as a department director. Investigate all options and programs offered by the ultrasound technician schools you research. Explore their plans and track record in helping former graduates with their education, job placement, and career advancement. If interested in health care administration, investigate which facilities require an individual to have a master's degree before applying for the position.

Most of the states in America, require X-ray techs be in possession of their license according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Licensing in these states require passing a certification exam, either from the state or from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Your career as a radiologic technologist depends on attending an accredited school, by an accreditation agency, approved by the ARRT. It is possible to attend non-degree level courses that award certificates or diplomas in radiology. However, the policy of the ARRT accepts only those students who have completed an educational program in radiology and earned either their associate or bachelor's degree. Note: the degree doesn't have to be in the radiology field. However, students must have completed the required academic coursework before certification.

Before receiving AART certification, the student must complete a degree program within a given time frame. Then they must take and pass the ARRT certification test while meeting the ARRT's ethical standards. As the program requirements and prerequisites change over time, it's a good idea to check the most current information on the ARRT website.

X-Ray Specialties

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Ultrasound technician schools offer X-ray techs a large variety of programs focusing on various fields of specialization. These days, diagnostic imaging has gone beyond fractured bones and dislocated fingers to such specialty techniques as:

  • Tomography - Layers of multiple X-ray images, creating a cross-section of the body, usually assembled by a computer
  • Mammography - Identifying fibroid or cancerous tumors in the breast
  • Angiography - X-rays of the body's vascular/circulatory system
  • Fluoroscopy - use of continuous X-rays that create an "X-ray movie" when examining blood vessels or the gastrointestinal tract

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports good opportunities for qualified X-ray technicians to work in specialized fields of radiology, as there are more specialty options available during the training program and while working in a professional career.

Is It Possible to Attend X-ray School Online?

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The ultrasound technician schools do not recommend online X-ray schools as they require hands-on learning and instruction. However, online studies can help professionals polish their skills. Many states require licensed radiological technicians to take part in continuing education, plus, the ARRT requires that all registered technicians partake in continuing education yearly. Many of these courses are available online and help individuals working in a "limited scope X-ray" capacity, seeking to earn a degree. For those with some experience, ask about "fast track radiology" programs as participants usually have some fundamental skills and basic knowledge in radiology. 

2018 Salary & Employment Outlook for Radiology Technicians

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports radiologic technologists can expect to earn a median yearly salary of $60,070.

Here Are the Average Radiologic Salaries by Industry:

  • U.S. Government (postal service excluded) - $63,040
  • State, local, private hospitals - $59,800
  • Diagnostic labs & medical facilities - $59,570
  • Outpatient care facilities - $58,020
  • Doctor's offices - $52,620

Top Five States for Radiology Techs Employment:

  • California - $77,650
  • Texas - $57,350
  • Florida - $55,210
  • New York - $68,720
  • Pennsylvania - $56,140

Top Paying States for Radiology Techs:

  • California - $77,650
  • District of Columbia - $77,500
  • Massachusetts - $72,840
  • Hawaii - $72,720
  • Oregon - $71,450

Conclusion

Hospitals use over 50% of qualified radiology technicians. The other 50% work in locations such as a doctor's office, medical and diagnostic labs, outpatient centers, the military, research venues, and within the federal government. The role the X-ray technician plays is critical, as an emergency can happen anytime and anywhere.

In most cases, a doctor orders X-rays as the first course of action before making a diagnosis or administering treatment. X-ray technicians are an important asset needed around the clock, meaning they can expect to work day shifts, on call, night shifts, legal holidays, and weekends. Radiology technicians typically advance their career by accepting positions in radiology and medical imaging management.

The benefits of an education in radiology can take you almost anywhere in the world. First, become licensed through your state and get certified with the ARRT (the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists). Make sure you're eligible to take the ARRT exam by completing an X-ray program that has approval from JCERT (the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology) as they are the accrediting body that has the authority to approve schools. Thirty-eight states require certification of X-ray technicians.

Experience is as important as licensing. Apply for, and get a job as an X-ray technician, as soon as you have obtained your degree or certificate and successfully passed the certification exam. Also, try to keep in touch with students, teachers, and contacts you have in the field. They could be an important connection while you are seeking employment. Contact professionals working in your field who can help you with interviewing and constructing a winning resume. Put your resume on a radiology job board and remember to stay positive. Health care professionals are needed all over the world. Choosing a career as a radiological technician will give you crucial experience, you can use the rest of your life, as your career grows and opportunities arise. Attempt to discuss your goals and career path with the ultrasound technician schools offering radiology technician programs and find the school that has the reputation and accreditation to move you in the direction you want to go.