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CCOG for VT 109 Winter 2024

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Course Number:
VT 109
Course Title:
Radiation Safety
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces x-radiation and safety principles involved in using x-ray machines. Program admission or current employment in a veterinary facility or clinic doing x-ray work is required. Prerequisites: Admission to Veterinary Technology program or instructor approval.

Addendum to Course Description

This course is designed for first year veterinary technology students and those individuals working with x-ray machines that are not and cannot be A.R.R.T. certified.  The course will meet the State of Oregon requirements for licensure to work with x-ray machines in a veterinary hospital or clinic setting.  

This is a graduation requirement for the Associates Degree in Applied Sciences in Veterinary Technology.  Credits in this course are not transferable to a four-year school towards a baccalaureate degree. 

There is no specific text required for this course. 

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion of the course the student will be able to:

  • Identify the parts of the x-ray machine and explain their purpose and function.
  • Explain how x-rays are produced and how they travel.
  • Demonstrate use of the controls on a x-ray machine and explain how they influence the x-ray beam.
  • Compare the effects that x-radiation has on a variety of biological and non-biological materials.
  • Describe and follow the methods employed in veterinary hospitals and clinics to protect employees and veterinarians against radiation exposure.
  • Follow methods used to develop x-ray films.

Course Activities and Design

This course is designed to be a lecture course.  It is a two-credit-hour course that meets for twenty total hours of lecture and discussion periods.  

Radiographic principles, safety, radiation protection, film processing, and some positioning will be taught in this course.   

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Grades will be based on the student’s understanding of the course content as demonstrated by periodic quizzes, one comprehensive final exam, and by attendance.  To receive a passing grade, the student must have attended a minimum of 20 hours of classes, anything less will be give an No Pass grade.  This is the number of contact hours required by the State of Oregon Radiation Control Division to receive certification.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


Items with an asterisk indicate tasks the student must be able to perform since they are listed as “essential tasks,” and tasks with two asterisks (**) indicate tasks considered to be “recommended tasks” by the Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  Tasks with no asterisks are considered neither “essential” nor “recommended”, but are taught based on instructor, SAC, and/or advisory committee recommendations.  This course content guide specifies which tasks students are required to perform (as indicated in the task description) and the tasks on which they have been educated and have observed but individual performance is not required.

1.0  Parts of the X-Ray Machine 

The goal is for the student to learn the parts of the x-ray machine, its purpose and function. 


1.1   List and describe the function of each of the following parts of the x-ray machine 

2.0  Physical  Principles of Radiography  

The goal is for the student to develop basic knowledge about the physics of x-rays and how they are produced. 


2.1  Define the following
2.2  Describe the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation.     
2.3  List the following parts of a x-ray tube  Times New Roman; font-weight:700>
2.4  Discuss the difference between a rotating anode and a fixed anode. 
2.5  Discuss the advantages to the utilization of a rotating anode. 
2.6  Discuss which types of machines today have fixed and which have rotating anodes. 
2.7  Discuss the principles by which x-rays are produced. 


The goal is for the student to develop a basic understanding of the controls on a x-ray machine and how they influence the x-ray beam. 


3.1  List the four variable controls that directly influence the x-ray beam.
3.2  Compare the effects of kV, mA, and time on the x-ray beam to a model of a grain conveyor belt.
3.3  Define alternating current, direct current and rectification.
3.4  Define mA and kV in physical terms related to electricity.
3.5  Describe the effects of kV, mA, and time on the x-ray beam.
3.6  Describe the effects of distance on the x-ray beam.
3.7  Discuss the heel effect.


The goal is for the student to develop a basic knowledge of the effects that s-radiation has on both biological and non-biological materials. 


4.1  Describe the methods by which x-rays interact with matter.
4.2  Describe the methods that are used to decrease the number of x-rays that enter the body during diagnostic x-ray procedures.
4.3  Describe what a screen is and where they are located.
4.4  Discuss the reasons that cassettes and screens are used in diagnostic radiography.
4.5  List the different types  of screens and the relative speeds of each.
4.6  Describe which of the interactions of x-rays with matter may result in biological damage.
4.7  List the two results that may occur when x-rays interact with biological materials.
4.8  Tell at which stage of the life cycle of cells are most sensitive to the effects of radiation.
4.9  List the various types of tissues in order of decreasing sensitivity which are affected by ionizing radiation.
4.10  List and describe the units of measure of radiation.
4.11  List the lethal dose indices for radiation.
4.12  Describe the symptoms of the lethal dose indices.
4.13  Describe the latent effects of 25 rems of radiation in a single dose.
4.14  Be able to calculate the Maximum Permissible Dose based on age.
4.15  Describe the effects of ionizing radiation on the body.
4.16  Discuss the reasoning for aluminum filtration to be added to the x-ray machine.
4.17  Discuss the concept and sequelae of acute excessive radiation exposure vs. chronic radiation exposure.
4.18  Discuss the differences between the way x-rays interact with the body for diagnostic purposes vs. therapeutic purposes.


The goal is for the students to develop a basic knowledge of the methods employed in veterinary hospitals and clinics to protect employees and the veterinarians themselves against radiation exposure.  


5.1  Discuss the veterinarian’s moral and legal responsibilities to his/her employees concerning radiation safety.
5.2  Discuss the principle factors in reducing radiation exposure to personnel. 
5.3  Discuss distance in relation to reducing exposure.
5.4  Discuss collimation in relation to reducing exposure.
4.5  Discuss the methods to hold animals in relation to reducing exposure. 
5.6  Describe the protective attire worn by personnel to reduce exposure. 
5.7  Discuss the State Radiation Protection rules.
5.8  Discuss personnel monitoring devices.
5.9  Discuss methods used to restrain animals without the aid of human assistance.
5.10  Explain scattered radiation and list the various causes.
5.11  Describe the methods used to diminish scattered radiation.


The goal is for the students to understand the principles and methods used to develop x-ray films.


6.1  Discuss the principles by which x-ray films are developed.  
6.2  Discuss the steps used to develop x-ray films using hand tanks.
6.3  Discuss the methods used to fill hand tanks with chemicals.  
6.4  Discuss the cleaning of hand tanks between filling.  
6.5  Discuss loading and unloading cassettes.  
6.6  Demonstrate the method in which a film is attached to a film holder.
6.7  Discuss the principles in which films are developed in an automatic processor.
6.8  Demonstrate the method in which to run a film through an automatic processor.
6.9  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method of developing film.
6.10  Discuss the problems that can occur when working with developing chemicals.
6.11  Discuss methods of cleaning the different types of screens and perform the same. *


The goal is for the student to develop an understanding of the tasks necessary to maintain equipment and keep accurate records of radiographs taken.  


7.1  Define quality control. 
7.2  Describe the tests employed to assure quality control.  
7.3  Discuss trouble-shooting in the maintenance aspect of the following:
7.4  Discuss the data needed for a good X-ray Log Book. *
7.5  Be able to label, file, and store film. *