Radiology Technologist Programs

What kind of degree will I need to pursue a career in radiology technology?

Most radiology technologists hold an associate’s degree in the field from a two-year college. Generally, all you need to become a radiology technologist and earn certification is a high school diploma and a two-year degree. However, some students interested in pursuing a career in radiology technology earn bachelor’s degrees in the subject. In addition, some individuals decide to pursue a career path in radiologic technology after having earned a bachelor’s degree in a different academic area. If their previous education provided them with sufficient background in the biological and physical sciences, these individuals may qualify to work as a radiology technologist by earning a one-year certificate in the field. Radiology technologists with aspirations of working in an administrative capacity or as radiologic assistants will need to pursue a master’s degree. In general, the higher your level of education, the more opportunities for advancement and salary increase you will encounter in the field of radiology technology.

What’s involved in radiologic technology degree programs?

Radiologic technologist schools will train students in six general patient care activities, including CPR; the measurement and recording of vital signs, including blood
In addition to these general patient care activities, candidates for certification must demonstrate clinical competency in a variety of radiographic imaging procedures.   There are 31 procedures designated as mandatory that all certified radiologic technologists must be able to perform.  These mandatory procedures include radiographic examinations of the patient’s chest and thorax; x-rays of the bones of the arm, wrist, hand, leg, knee, and foot; imaging of the spine, hip, and pelvis; and visualization of the abdomen. 

Radiology technology training programs that prepare students for American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification will teach them to perform fifteen elective imaging procedures that they may choose from a total of thirty-five options.  Students will lean to demonstrate competence in upper GI or barium enema, as well as at least one other fluoroscopic technique.  At least one of the elective procedures must be a technique used to visualize the structures of a patient’s head or skull, such as the paranasal sinuses, the orbital bones or eye sockets, the nasal bones, and the mandible or jaw bone.  Other elective imaging procedures include cystography, myelography, and arthrography. 

Candidates for certification must also demonstrate competence in a variety of practical skills that are incidental to the performance of diagnostic imaging techniques.  These include positioning of the patient in the imaging machine, patient assessment, preparation of the procedure room and area, patient management, radiation safety, proper operation and maintenance of diagnostic imaging equipment, requisitioning of equipment and materials, patient assessment, selection of appropriate imaging techniques, image processing, and evaluation of diagnostic images.

Learn about radiologic technologist salaries.

How can I become certified as a radiology technologist?

After completing a radiologic technology degree program and gaining some work experience in the field, a technologist may decide to seek certification.  Becoming certified demonstrates to potential employers that a radiology technologist has achieved a certain level of technical skill and proficiency.  The certification credential can expand career opportunities and possibilities for job promotion and salary increases.

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is the organization that confers the certification credential and reviews certified radiology technologists for continued registration by imposing certain continuing education and ethical requirements.  To qualify for certification through the ARRT, a radiologic technologist must meet certain eligibility thresholds in three primary areas: Ethics, Education, and Examination.  With respect to “Ethics,” the candidate must demonstrate good moral character.  If a candidate has a criminal record, this must be disclosed to the ARRT.  While the ARRT does not automatically exclude individuals with criminal records from certification, past convictions will tend to weigh against a finding that the candidate has the requisite ethical standards.  With respect to “Education,” the candidate must successfully complete an accredited degree program in radiology technology and demonstrate competency in a range of coursework subjects and diagnostic procedures and patient care activities. With respect to “Examination,” the candidate must take and pass a certification examination that is written and administered by the ARRT.  The purpose of the examination is to ensure that the candidate has the requisite knowledge base and reasoning skills to effectively perform the job duties required of a radiology technologist. 

The ARRT offers certification in five primary areas of radiology technology: radiography, nuclear medicine technology, radiation therapy, sonography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  Once a radiology technologist has been certified in one or more of these primary areas, he or she may choose to become certified in one or more post-primary categories of specialization.  These post-primary categories include:  mammography, computed tomography, bone densitometry, cardiac-interventional radiography, vascular-interventional radiography, vascular sonography, and breast sonography.  Each primary and post-primary category requires separate certification, and a candidate must take a separate certification examination to become certified in each.

Radiologic Technologist Schools