Radiology technicians and radiographers are required to complete either a certificate or associate's degree program in the field before they can gain certification and seek employment. A one-year certificate program in radiography can provide aspiring technicians with an appropriate understanding of radiographic exposure, equipment, procedures, and safety concerns. It also qualifies them to test for certification as a radiologic technician, which is required in some states. They are required to take introductory courses to learn the basics of radiography theory and practices. They are also required to take clinical practices in which they learn how to work with patients, prepare patients for examinations, perform diagnostic examinations, and follow proper safety protocols.
Radiation Health Technician Certification
Community colleges and vocational schools are the institutions of higher education most likely to offer radiography certificate programs. Such schools typically require incoming students to hold a high school diploma and a GPA of at least 2.5. Some schools also require students interested in enrolling in a radiography certificate program to have CPR certification. Certificate programs in radiography have little or no general education requirements and focus entirely on theories and practical skills that relate directly to the field of radiography technology. Common course topics include:
- Introduction to radiography
- Radiographic exposure
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Radiographic procedures laboratory
- Radiation and safety
- Clinical practicum
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that radiologic technologists held roughly 195,590 positions in 2015 (www.bls.gov). They earned a median annual salary of $56,670 in that same year. Most radiologic technologists were employed by general medical and surgical hospitals as well as physicians' offices.
Radiation health technicians can gain primary certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. The organization offers a radiography examination that covers radiation protection and patient care techniques and certifies technicians in the field.
Radiology technicians who are interested in becoming radiology technologists can either work their way up in a diagnostic imaging department or complete an associate's or bachelor's degree in radiologic technology. They can also complete a master's degree in the field to become radiology assistants.
A radiation health technician certification affords students the opportunity to work as radiology technicians in many settings, although most technicians are employed by hospitals and doctors' offices. If such technicians wish to become technologists, associate's and bachelor's programs in this discipline are available.