How to Become a Radiologic Technologist
There are multiple avenues of preparation available to those desiring to enter the Radiologic Technologist profession.
Training can be obtained through the following institutions:
- Colleges and Universities
- Vocational-Technical training centers
- U.S. Armed Forces
Radiologic Technologists have three options to get their certification.
1. Earn a Certificate (1-2 Years)
This option is beneficial if you are transitioning fields in healthcare and have experience in radiology technology.
Certificate Programs are available through online programs, community colleges, and some hospitals. You will receive hands-on training and be exposed to many different courses in your training.
Your coursework will be much of what it would be with an associate's degree. A strong foundation in anatomy, biology, medical terminology, chemistry, math, and radiology theory will be built with a certificate program.
Like stated before, this option is useful if you have another degree or are switching fields. If not, it's best to go with option 2.
2. Earn an Associate's Degree (2 Years)
Associate's degrees are the most common ways to become a radiologic technologist. They typically include classroom education and clinical training.
Radiologic technologists are required to complete a course of study that includes:
- Basic anatomy
- Techniques of patient positioning
- Fundamental and advanced examination techniques
- Equipment use
- Calibration and maintenance protocols
- Safety when working with radiation
- Protection from radiation contamination
- Fundamentals of patient care
Most radiologic technologists are employed by hospitals, which prefer to hire personnel with formal training leading to national certifications. Information on certification can be obtained from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
3. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)
Some colleges offer radiologic technologist degree programs. Their coursework is heavy in biology, chemistry, anatomy, pathology, and radiobiology.
This path isn't necessary, but could land you better jobs and more pay. Also, it could allow you better entry into specialized fields and better equip your for advanced learning, if you so choose.
Check with the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) to see if your institution is an accredited body for Radiology Technician studies.
4. Earn the Required Certification
You must be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists to become a radiologic technologist.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists’ certification exams gauge your knowledge and ability to perform your tasks. States use your ARRT exam scores to dictate if you get a State License or not.
5. Maintain Certification Through Continuing Education
Radiologic technologists must complete 24 hours of continuing education every 2 years in order to maintain their certification in most states.