The coursework to become an x-ray or MRI technician is similar. X-ray technicians and MRI technicians are diagnostic imaging professionals who use different forms of medical imaging as ordered by a physician. These images are used to diagnose and prescribe treatments for injuries and disease. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of radiologic technician jobs is expected to increase by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018.
General Education Courses
Most radiologic technology programs are offered as part of an associate's degree program and, as such, require that students pursuing careers in this field take general education courses across a variety of disciplines. Many of these courses are meant to provide imaging professionals with the skills they need to be successful in the workplace. For instance, most degree programs require a course in speech and communication. X-ray and MRI technicians need to communicate effectively with patients and other workers. Other courses of study include English, psychology, math and science.
Prerequisite Science Courses
Many MRI and x-ray technician programs require students take prerequisite science courses if the courses are not integrated into the program curriculum. These courses are designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge in science they need to understand the basic aspects of their job. Courses typically include human anatomy and physiology, physics and biology. In some cases, the coursework may be in more specialized areas, like biomedical science.
X-Ray Technician Courses
Once students have completed prerequisite and general education coursework, they can then focus on the remainder of their studies needed to work as an x-ray technician. This includes radiologic technology courses to introduce students to the basic aspects of the profession. These are sometimes taken early on in the program so students can take advanced classes as they approach graduation. Other studies include more advanced forms of medical imaging and the physics of health science.
MRI Technician Coursework
Coursework for MRI technicians can be offered as part of a degree program in radiography, or it can be offered as a stand-alone program. Students usually begin with introductory MRI courses and then move to more advanced coursework in areas like medical terminology, sectional anatomy, procedures and protocol in MRI work, MRI physics and pathology, nursing procedures and nursing care and computer imaging.