Radiologist technicians usually must be state licensed as they operate machinery that emits radiation, hazardous to them and patients. Several education options are available for aspiring radiologist techs. They can also become certified and registered, as employers may prefer it.
Radiology technicians work with radiation-based imaging procedures, such as x-rays and CT scans, in order to pinpoint medical problems in their patients. Most radiology techs earn associate's degrees, though bachelor's degree and certificate programs are also available. Since this job requires working with potentially hazardous machines, federal law requires states to regulate the profession, and many states mandate licensing. In addition, some employers prefer radiologists who've been professionally certified.
|Required Education||Associate's degree most common; 4-year degrees and certificates also available|
|Other Requirements||Licensure required by some states; certification recommended for those hoping to become a radiologic or MRI technologist|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||9% for radiologic technologists|
|Mean Annual Salary (2018)*||$59,520 for radiologic technologists|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
License Information for Radiology Technicians
Since radiology involves the operation of machines that produce radiation, states are required to regulate the profession in order to ensure patient and practitioner safety. Many states require licensure of radiology technicians. However, requirements for these licenses vary from state to state. Interested parties should contact their home state's board of health.
Typically, radiology technicians must graduate from an accredited program and pass a licensure exam. Professional certification can substitute one or both of these requirements in some states. Aspiring radiology technicians might need to first obtain a temporary certificate before testing for the general license.
Credential Information for Radiology Technicians
Prospective radiologists can earn a 4-year bachelor's degree, a 2-year associate's degree or a certificate in radiology to qualify for the career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate's degree is the most common path into a radiological career (www.bls.gov). These programs teach how to identify and use radiological imaging equipment, and students typically participate in clinical observation and assistance opportunities.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers a nationally recognized exam and credential for professionals in the field. Although certification in the radiological field is voluntary, employers might prefer to hire technicians who can demonstrate their knowledge and proficiency by certifying with the organization.
Certification begins with an initial examination that requires candidates to pass a criminal background check and a formal training program that includes clinical experience. The test covers topics in radiography procedures that use a myriad of technologies, such as computed tomography (CT), sonography and nuclear medicine technology. Those who use the test for state licensing purposes could also be tested on practical knowledge and equipment operations.
Once a radiology technician is certified by ARRT, he or she must still submit to yearly registration to maintain their certified status. This requires an applicant continue to adhere to ARRT's ethical code, as well as engage in continuing education classes. Continued registration might not be required by some states to maintain licensure.
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
The BLS predicted that the employment opportunities for radiologic technologists should increase faster than the national average for all occupations through 2028. In May 2018, the BLS reported that professionals in the 90th percentile or higher earned $86,350 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $40,630 or less per year.
One should start out with a bachelor's degree, associate's degree, or certificate in radiology to become qualified for a position as a radiologist technician. Using radiology machinery can be risky, so most states mandate licensure. Professional certification and registration are available, and they may increase job opportunities.