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CT Technologist: Career Profile and Education Summary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a CT technologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

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A CT technologist performs x-ray diagnostic imaging exams on patients. CT technologists must typically earn a certificate or undergraduate degree in radiologic technology, as well as obtain state licensure. See details on the educational requirements, job duties, salary info and job outlook for this field.

Essential Information

CT (computed tomography) technologists are radiologic technicians who specialize in taking cross-sectional x-ray images of the tissues, bones, organs and blood vessels in an area of a patient's body. Individuals interested in working as CT technologists should complete certificate or degree programs in radiologic technology. Although certification is not mandatory in this field, the majority of states do require technologists to be licensed.

Required Education Certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in radiologic technology or a similar field
Licensing and Certification Licensing required in most U.S. states; certification is voluntary through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART)
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% for radiologic technologists
Average Salary (2015)* $58,520 for radiologic technologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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CT Technologist Career Profile

Job Duties

Daily tasks for a CT technologist including preparing and operating the CT scanner and positioning patients. CT technologists assist doctors in administering oral or intravenous sedatives to patients before a scan. CT technologists also complete administrative work, such as recording the scan time and requesting scans. The scans that a CT technologist produces help doctors diagnose and treat patients with internal diseases or injuries. Because CT technologists work closely with radiation, they take safety precautions very seriously. CT technologists usually wear lead aprons, gloves or other shielding devices. They constantly monitor their exposure to radiation.

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in May 2015 the average annual wage for all radiologic technologists was $58,520. The middle 50% earned between $45,870 and $69,480 per year. In addition, the lowest ten percent had salaries of less than $38,110, while the earnings of those in the highest ten percent were higher than $81,660.

Employment Outlook

The employment outlook for radiologic technologists is bright, with jobs expected to increase faster than average, by 9%, from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. Job applicants with knowledge of more than one radiologic procedure, including CT, magnetic resonance or mammography, will have the best employment prospects. CT technologists can work in hospitals, clinics or dentists' offices and usually have normal business hours.

CT Technologist Education Summary

Degrees and Certificates

CT technologists are trained in radiography and usually enroll in programs leading to a certificate, 2-year associate's degree or 4-year bachelor's degree. Prospective students should look for training programs that are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.

Curriculum Information

Programs in radiography include both classroom and clinical instruction in radiation physics, radiobiology, pathology, anatomy and physiology and medical imaging. Students also learn about radiographic patient positioning, radiation protection and the principles of exposure.

License Requirements

Most U.S. states require licensing for practicing radiologic technicians. Requirements vary, and the best course of action is to contact an individual state's board of health or licensing agency.

Certification Requirements

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART) offers voluntary CT technologist certification. Computed tomography is one of 12 post-primary areas of certification offered by the AART. Candidates for CT technologist certification must first be registered in one of the supporting disciplines of nuclear medicine technology, radiography or radiation therapy.

CT technologists prepare and operate CT equipment and position patients properly for administration of imaging exams. They also assist doctors in preparing the patient for the exam by administering sedatives and completing necessary administrative work. Potential candidates that acquire the proper degree or certificate, along with state licensure, have a great opportunity to get into this field, due to the predicted faster-than-average job growth.

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