The class summaries below will give you an idea of classes you might take when you are enrolled in x-ray technician school. Note that these are only generalized summaries of covered topics and a list of potential classes – the actual titles of your courses, the order and organization of your studies, and the details of what you learn will depend on what institution you attend.
This class will cover basic terminology as well as the theories and principles of basic positioning. You will learn proper practices related to various parts of the body, including the extremities, the chest, and the abdomen. In more advanced positioning classes you will learn how to position patients to get clear images of the vertebrae, the cranium, and certain internal functions, such as the gastrointestinal system. These classes frequently employ both lecture and lab learning. Of course, in the lab you will practice your newfound skills under the supervision of a radiographer.
Radiologic Exposure and Principles
This is where you will learn about the fundamental principles and concepts behind x-ray technology. You will need to gain proficiency in obtaining an x-ray that meets all the standards of a high-quality image, including proper contrast, density, and detail. You might learn about darkroom procedures, protection standards, and factors affecting image quality. You will also begin to learn about the components and operation of different imaging systems. Just like with your positioning class, there will likely be both classroom and lab work that will help you gain a firm grasp of the concepts.
This is the class in which you learn about how healthcare systems function. Topics might include the hospital environment, accrediting bodies, and professional ethics. On a more individual level, you will learn about how to properly treat a patient, including how to properly transfer a patient how to measure vital signs, and how to respond in emergency situations. This class might help you decide if radiology is truly the career for you. If possible, you should consider taking it early on in your coursework.
Digital Imaging Environment
In a class on digital imaging you will learn about the components, principles, and operation of different digital imaging systems. You will learn about image acquisition, display, archiving, and retrieval. You will also learn about aspects related to digital imaging management, picture archiving, and communication.
Biology and Protection
Safety procedures are paramount to a successful day in radiology. In a class like biology and protection you will learn about the principles of radiation biology and possible dangers. This will be followed by different techniques you can use to protect both patients and personnel from harmful exposure to radiation, as well as information about regulating agencies. It is not uncommon in healthcare environments for your own personal exposure to radiation to be tracked over time to ensure you remain safe.
In this course you will learn about human pathology on an anatomic level, including inflammatory, immunology, and neoplastic processes. You will also study specific diseases and the role of different organ systems. These studies will be tied in to their relationship to the procedures of radiographic technology. You may also find that, if you are enrolled in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program, that basic anatomy and physiology classes are prerequisites for a pathology course.