To become an x-ray technician, a student must receive a combination of academic learning and hands-on training to achieve certification and enter the workforce prepared to deal with real patients. While every x-ray technician program is slightly different, students should seek out programs that offer these essential components.

Human Anatomy

Human anatomy is the class that anyone who wants to work in the medical field needs to take. In human anatomy, students learn names for every part of the body from all 206 bones in the human skeleton to the glands that make up the endocrine system. They also learn how the body’s organs function together to perform tasks like digestion and red blood cell formation.

Medical Terminology

A class in basic medical terminology teaches the names of various medical conditions, as well as the common roots, prefixes, and suffixes used in naming ailments. It’s important for an x-ray technician to have a working knowledge of medical terminology to be able to communicate with doctors and nurses in clinical settings.


One of the most important aspects of working as an x-ray technician is knowing how to position patients on the x-ray table. Improper positioning results in useless x-rays and may also cause a patient unnecessary pain. Learning how to maneuver people who have injuries and a lack of mobility is also crucial.

Radiologic Technology

A radiologic technology class teaches future x-ray technicians how to operate x-ray equipment and develop film. Most x-ray technician programs include several radiologic technology classes that begin with basic principles and become progressively more advanced.

Patient Care

A patient care course will give an x-ray technician a more well-rounded idea of what a patient needs during a hospital stay. At minimum, x-ray technicians must understand how patients in the radiography department should be cared for in terms of comfort and administering medication. They must also know how to handle patients in serious conditions and what all those tubes are really for.


Pathology courses help to familiarize x-ray technicians with various diseases and their affects on the human body. In pathology classes, they also learn how to take x-rays specifically for the diagnostic purpose of assessing disease symptoms.

Radiation Protection

Every day, x-ray technicians must protect themselves from the radiation x-ray machines emit. A radiation protection course will teach students about what radiation is, why radiation is harmful, and how to properly use protective gear. Radiation protection classes also teach students how to minimize a patient’s exposure to radiation during the x-ray process.

Clinical Education

Toward the end of an x-ray technician program, a student will be placed in a hospital or clinic setting under the supervision of certified radiographers. During clinical education, they practice what they’ve learned with real patients so that when they graduate, they may begin working immediately as fully qualified professionals in the field.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in pursuing, find out more about how you can become a certified x-ray technician. Check out the X-Ray Technician Schools directory today!