How long does it take to become an X-Ray Technician? The answer may depend on your qualifications and experience.
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How Long Does It Take to Become an X-Ray Technician?
The training required to become an X-ray technician varies depending on the type of program you choose and the state you plan to work in.
Most X-ray tech programs take two years to complete, but some certificate programs can be finished in as little as nine months. If you want to earn an associate degree, you can expect to spend two years in school, although some students may be able to complete their degree in as little as 18 months if they attend school full time.
Once you have completed your training, you will need to obtain a state license before you can start working. The requirements for licensing vary from state to state, but most states require X-ray technicians to pass a written exam.
The different types of X-Ray Technician Programs
There are several different types of X-ray technician programs available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The type of program you choose will depend on your individual needs and circumstances.
X-ray technician programs typically fall into one of four categories: certificate, diploma, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree.
1. Certificate programs are the shortest type of X-ray technician program typically lasting around six months to a year. Certificate programs provide students with the basic knowledge and skills needed to work as an X-ray technician, but they may not provide the same level of education as more advanced programs.
2. Diploma programs are similar to certificate programs in that they provide students with the basic knowledge and skills needed to work as an X-ray technician. However, diploma programs usually last longer than certificate programs, typically two years or more.
3. Associate’s degree programs are the most common type of X-ray technician program, lasting two to three years. Associate’s degree programs provide students with a more comprehensive education than certificate or diploma programs, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed for a successful career as an X-ray technician.
4. Bachelor’s degree programs are the longest type of X-ray technician program, typically lasting four years. Although bachelor’s degree programs take longer to complete than other types of X-ray technician programs, they provide students with a more in-depth education and can lead to better career opportunities.
What is the Difference Between an Associate’s Degree and a Certificate?
An X-ray technician career typically requires either an Associate’s degree or a certificate from an accredited program. The type of program you choose will affect how long it takes to complete your training and become an X-ray technician.
An Associate’s degree program in radiography typically takes two years to complete. During your first year, you’ll take classes in English, mathematics, psychology, and other general education courses. In your second year, you’ll complete radiography specific coursework that will prepare you for your career.
A certificate program in radiography can be completed in as little as one year, though some programs may take up to two years to finish. These programs are more focused on radiography coursework and typically do not include general education classes.
After completing an accredited program, you’ll need to pass a certification exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Once you’ve passed the exam and met all other requirements, you’ll be able to apply for state licensure and begin working as an X-ray technician.
How Do I Become an X-Ray Technician?
It will take you about two years to become an X-ray technician if you attend a full-time program at a community college. Some colleges offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months. If you attend a part-time program, it will take longer to earn your degree.
What is the job outlook for X-Ray Technicians?
X-ray technicians, also known as radiologic technologists, are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the field will grow by 9% from 2019 to 2029, adding approximately 37,100 jobs. This is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. There are several reasons for this strong growth. First, as the population ages, there will be an increasing need for diagnostic imaging to screen for conditions common in older adults, such as arthritis and osteoporosis. In addition, advances in technology are resulting in new and more sophisticated diagnostic procedures that require the skills of X-ray technicians.