Don't waste your time or money on an x-ray technician program. An x-ray technician is a limited permit. That means you can only do very limited exams....extremities or chest x-rays for example. You will have a hard time finding a job with this. Most employers want a fully licensed tech, and most limited techs work in orthopedic offices. If you want to know about future employment, call some imaging departments and facilities, and ask if they employ limited permit holders. You can look in your local yellow pages under "x-ray" or "physician-radiologist". I am willing to bet that none of them use x-ray technicians.
If you get your radiologic technologist degree or certificate, you can do any imaging which uses radiation. If you want to work in a hospital or free standing imaging center, you want your RT. You can do everything that comes in the door.
There are many schools in many states where you can get trained to be a radiologic technologist (the proper term for a x-ray tech). You can attend a hospital based program (and earn a certificate), a 2 year college program (AS degree), and even a 4 year college program (BS degree). The hospital based programs are the least expensive, and honestly, I think the education received there is superior. Once you graduate and take your registry exam, no future employer is going to care what type of educational program you went through. All they care about is your license. You can find an accredited RT program at this site. Just search "radiography" and your state...links are provided which will give you additional information on each program (cost, duration of program, contact person):
RTs do more than just x-rays of bones. We do fluoroscopy studies (involving the intestinal tract and barium), arthrograms (assisting the radiologist with injecting contrast or dye into joints for evaluation) and myelograms (assisting the radiologist with injecting contrast into the spinal canal). If you work in a hospital setting, you will do portable exams in ICU, CCU, the ER and even surgery. Some RTs take x-rays in the morgue. A limited technician cannot do any of these exams.
Most RTs will also become proficient and licensed in other modalities, such as mammography, CT and/or MRI. This training does not require any additional formal training, and is usually learned on the job. The more licenses you have, the more money you can make, as you will be in higher demand. With additional schooling, you can also do ultrasound. You will not have these opportunities with a limited permit.
I highly recommend you do an observation in both a hospital imaging department and a free standing imaging facility. Until you see what RTs do, you won't know if it is the job for you! It would also give you a wonderful opportunity to talk to RTs in your area. Best wishes.....
Oh, another good resource....check out the student area of the ASRT website:
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists just did a large salary survey, in 2007. The salary varies, depending on your experience, specialties and geographical area. A limited technician, if he/she can find a job, will make less than a RT. To view, the survey, and see the average salary in your state, you can go to this link: