Radiation Technician Degree, Training and Certificate Program Info

Oct 13, 2019

Radiation technicians, also sometimes called radiologic technicians or radiographers, are responsible for operating x-ray machines to take interior images of patients' organs for diagnostic purposes.

Essential Information

Radiography certificate programs are the most basic form of education available to aspiring radiation technicians. These programs are designed to provide students with an overview of human anatomy and physiology while at the same time offering an introduction to medical imaging.

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in radiologic technology can be appropriate for both aspiring radiation technicians and radiologic technologists. Such programs provide students with the same introduction to radiographic science, procedures and safety as certificate programs in the field. Prerequisites for these programs may require students to be CPR certified and have a GED or high school diploma.

Radiography Certificate

Students learn the basics of radiography procedures, x-ray production and radiation safety through both didactic and clinical course lessons.

Radiography certificate programs are vocational programs, and contain only those courses vital to embarking on a career as a radiation technician. Some specific examples include:

  • Introduction to diagnostic imaging
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Radiation science, radiation therapy and patient care
  • Physics of x-ray production
  • Radiographic procedures and positioning
  • Radiographic skills laboratory and clinical experience

Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology

Students enrolled in associate's degree programs also gain a general education background and a more extensive overview of health care communication skills, medical law, ethics and patient care.

Associate's degree programs in radiologic technology typically consist of four semesters' (two years) worth of courses, including didactic, laboratory and clinical courses. Some specific examples include:

  • Anatomy and physiology lab
  • Introduction to radiology
  • Patient care and medical ethics
  • Radiographic positioning and exposure
  • Clinical radiography practicum
  • Radiation protection and safety

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, radiologic technologists may have a 9% job growth for the years 2018 through 2028. Professionals in the field earned a median annual salary of $59,520 in May 2018.

Continuing Education and Certification Options

Radiation technicians who are interested in becoming radiologic technologists might consider enrolling in a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology degree program. Radiologic technologists can gain voluntary certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Individuals must pass an examination in order to earn either certification.

Students wanting to start a career as a radiologic technologist or technician may seek either a Radiography Certificate or an Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology program. Both programs provide a training in the basic use and safety of radiologic diagnostics and imaging technology.

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