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Degree Overview: Associate (A.A.) Degree Programs in X-ray Technologies

Majors Overview June 13, 2014

Students will be prepared to become x-ray technologists or radiographers with an associate’s degree program in radiologic technologies or x-ray. These individuals hold the responsibility of producing and preparing x-ray images for medical diagnosis.

Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree Programs in X-ray Technologies

Students enrolled in an Associate of Science (A.S.) or an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Radiologic Technology or X-ray Technology are taught about producing x-ray images of medical patients.

Students will become adept at positioning patients for imaging procedures and protecting the safety of patients. They are taught how to calibrate machinery in order to produce useful and efficient x-ray images. The program also teaches students how to assist medical professionals such as surgeons and physicians among others involved in treating medical problems.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Additionally, those seeking admission may be expected to complete general education classes in biology, physics, and algebra before they can begin the x-ray technologies program. Some institutions and programs expect separate applications to the degree program that may also entail an observation in a hospital setting.

Coursework

Coursework could vary from school to school; however, a general feature is ensuring that the applications of radiographic technology are properly understood by students interested in providing radiation protection practices and patient care in accordance with industry standards. Clinical experiences or internships are also included in some programs. Coursework in degree programs may include the following:

•Radiation physics and protection
•Medical terminology
•Image production
•Anatomy and physiology
•Radiographic equipment operation and maintenance

Job and Wage Outlook

Passage of a licensing examination will enable graduates to seek work as radiographers or x-ray technologists in various organized health care settings, such as nursing homes, extended care facilities, clinics, and hospitals. An optimistic outlook has been projected for x-ray technologists in the foreseeable future (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)).

This is especially true for individuals with the ability to understand and use additional diagnostic imaging procedures, such as mammography, MR, or CT. In May 2010 radiologic technicians and technologists earned an average annual wage of $55,910 (BLS).

Certification and Licensure Choices

Most states require x-ray technologists to be licensed before they can practice (BLS). Graduates can seek state licensure as well as national certification as offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Passage of the exam is necessary for certification, while continuing education can help maintain such certification.

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