Depending on the type of school in which you enroll, you will have classes in a number of different subjects. All accredited schools will offer education in a variety of radiological topics, and most will offer opportunities to practice your skills in real-life, supervised settings. If you have enrolled in a longer program to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, you will also take general studies courses to round out your education and prepare you for professional life.
General Studies Classes
You will only take general studies classes if you are enrolled in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. If you have chosen to graduate with a radiology certificate instead, it is unlikely that you will take many general education courses. However, if you have been accepted into one of these longer programs, your general studies classes will include education in math, communication, English, information technology, and other basic topics. Part of the reason you have to take these classes is that they are a requirement for anyone pursing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, regardless of your major. However, they are also important because they give you a solid educational foundation for your professional life. Classes in communication and English will help you in both conversations with patients and your note-taking and record-keeping skills. Math will help you calculate different proportions when mixing chemicals, and IT classes will help you navigate different computer software that you might need to use. Plus, a general knowledge in different subject areas will be helpful should you ever choose to switch careers. These skills will assist you in a broad range of professions in which you might later find yourself engaged.
Of course, a substantial portion of your schooling will be in areas specifically related to radiology. You will take classes in radiography, medical terminology, positioning, anatomy and physiology, patient care, exposure, imaging, special procedures, pathology, and law and ethics. You might take courses in basic principles, imaging different parts of the body, imaging for different patient groups (such as children and the elderly), radiation protection, pharmacology, and analysis. You will take these classes regardless of whether you are enrolled in a certificate program or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. The exact classes you will take will depend on the details of your institution’s curriculum, but they will cover all of the important concepts. This is where you will get the bulk of the knowledge that you will use in your future career as an x-ray technician.
An important part of your education will be the completion of clinical education, in the form of rotations or externships. By participating in these sessions you will benefit from the opportunity to practice your skills in a supervised clinical environment. You may be assigned a certain number of hours that you have to complete before you can graduate from the program. Typically, you do not start your clinical education until you have completed a portion of the radiology classes you need to take so that you have the skills to succeed in these supervised environments. You will have an opportunity to practice your skills in general radiology rooms as well as specialized scanning methodologies. You may also get practice in pain clinics or with patient transportation. At certain points, you may be required to give up evening and/or weekend hours in order to completely fulfill the requirements. By the end of your rotations or externships you will be adequately prepared to take a job in a number of different radiologic professions, including x-ray.