It takes about two to four years to become a radiologic technologist. Learn about the steps you need to take to become a radiology tech.
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Becoming a radiology technician typically requires completing an accredited educational program and passing an exam. Some states also have licensure requirements. The length of time it takes to become a radiology technician can vary depending on the type of program you choose and whether you attend school full or part time. Here’s an overview of what you need to know about becoming a radiology technician.
How Many Years of Education Are Required?
Education requirements for radiologic technologists vary by state. Most states require radiologic technologists to be licensed by the state in which they work. In order to qualify for licensure, radiologic technologists must graduate from an accredited radiography program and pass a national certifying exam.
Radiography programs typically take 2-4 years to complete, depending on whether the student pursues a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree. Once licensed, radiologic technologists may pursue voluntary national certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certification through the ARRT requires passage of an additional exam and completion of continuing education requirements.
What Are the Certification and Training Requirements?
Radiologic technologists must complete an accredited educational program and earn a professional credential to practice. Most states regulate the profession and mandate the completion of an accredited program and professional credential for licensure. Some states require radiologic technologists to complete continuing education credits to maintain their licenses, whereas other states do not have continuing education requirements. The type of credential awarded to radiologic technologists depends on the modality in which they practice.
There are several routes that radiologic technologists can take to earn a professional credential: certificate, diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree. The level of education needed to enter the profession depends on the state in which the technologist plans to work as well as the specific modality. In general, most radiologic technologists need at least an associate’s degree from an accredited program to be eligible for licensure and/or employment.
What Are the Job Duties of a Radiology Technician?
Radiology technicians, also known as radiologic technologists or medical radiation technologists, work in hospitals, clinics and private practices performing diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x-rays, on patients. They are responsible for positioning patients and equipment, operating x-ray machines and ensuring quality images. They also provide patient care and education. Many radiologic technologists specialize in a particular area, such as computed tomography (CT) scanning or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Radiologic technologists must be licensed in most states. The requirements for licensure vary by state but generally include completing an accredited educational program and passing an exam. Some states also require continuing education to maintain a license.
What Are the Career Options for Radiology Technicians?
Radiology technicians have a few different career options available to them. They can work in hospitals, clinics, private practices, or even research facilities. Some radiology technicians may choose to specialize in a certain area of radiology, such as mammography or ultrasound. Others may choose to become certified in multiple modalities so that they can work in more than one setting.
What Is the Job Outlook for Radiology Technicians?
Radiology technicians are in high demand and the job outlook for this career is very positive. Employment of radiologic technologists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.1 Hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, and physicians’ offices will need more radiologic technologists to take X-rays and administer nonionizing radiation treatments as the population continues to age.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Radiologic Technologists and Technicians,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists-and-technicians.htm (visited February 26, 2020).
It takes approximately four years to become a radiology technician. This includes two years of schooling and two years of on-the-job training.