Most x-ray tech colleges are designed to prepare you to pass the national certification exam as well as to get you ready to perform your job as best you can. To qualify for the national exam, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as your GED. So most training programs will have the same requirements, although that is not true of every school and program. However, the qualification requirements for the certification exam are set to change in a couple of years. Starting in 2015, you will need to have an associate’s degree as well.
While the training you get during your time in x-ray tech school will mostly prepare you to do your job, if you do not pass the certification exam you cannot legally hold an x-ray tech job in the first place. This means that x-ray tech colleges are pretty focused on getting you prepared for the exam. The exam itself is meant to ensure a standard of knowledge among all x-ray technicians, so what you learn for the exam will also help you on the job.
But because the exam is so important, the qualifications for the exam are prioritized by x-ray tech colleges and training programs. While some universities require that you already have a certain level of training in math and sciences before you can enter a technician training program, most go by the rules set by the national certification exam requirements.
In the future, if you find an x-ray tech program that allows you to enroll without an associate’s degree, you may find yourself in trouble when it comes time to take the exam. If you complete your training program before the end of 2014, you will still be eligible to take the certification exam without having an associate’s degree. However, if you complete your training in 2015 or after, the associate’s degree will be necessary if you want to become certified.
While you do not need a degree to attend x-ray tech colleges today, in the near future an associate’s degree will be required for the certification exam. Having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree may also make you a more appealing candidate when you start to apply for jobs. There are many programs out there that will train you to be an excellent x-ray tech no matter what your background is, but taking and passing the certification exam should be your goal.