Schools by state
There are many accredited radiology tech schools in all 50 states that offer programs that range from diploma level to associate’s degree and bachelor’s degrees.
Contact a schools close to where you live and discover how a degree in this rewarding field of interest can help you achieving your personal career goals.
Radiologic technologists are medical personnel who are trained to use imaging equipment to perform diagnostic examinations on patients. This may include x-rays, CT scans (computed tomography examinations) and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging). Radiologic technologists are sometimes referred to as radiologic technicians or x-ray technicians. There are over 200,000 radiologic technologists in the United States.
Radiologic technologists typically work in a hospital setting, although some may work at an imaging center or even at a physician’s office. They must be able to stand on their feet for extended periods of time. They may be required to render physical assistance to a disabled patient. Most RTs work full time. They may be required to be on call or work overtime as necessary.
Radiologic technologists are exposed to radioactive materials or equipment as an inherent part of their job. Radiology technologists are trained on the precautions to observe while working around radioactive materials. They are also taught about the use of safety measures to reduce the chance of inadvertent exposure to radiation. Radiologic technologists often wear protective shielding devices, such as a special lead-lined vest, gloves and/or apron. Radiologic technologists are tested on a regular basis to monitor radioactive exposure to ensure that they have not been unduly exposed to radioactive materials.
In order to become a radiologic technologist, the individual must either hold a high school diploma or equivalent. The typical route to becoming a radiologic technologist is through the completion of a program that culminates in certification, obtaining an associate’s degree or pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Regardless of the individual’s choice, radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in order to work as a radiologic technologist.
Licensing or certification involves either passing an exam given by the particular state or by passing the national examination that is administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Once the individual has obtained the appropriate training and passed the ARRT certification examination, they are able to pursue licensing as an R.T. (radiologic technologist). Requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so it is advisable to determine the individual state procedure for becoming licensed and/or certified before choosing the route for becoming a radiologic technologist.
1. Certification program
2. Associate of Applied Science Degree
During the clinical portion of the coursework, a student will be trained in how to properly position patients depending upon the diagnostic test requested by the attending physician. They will learn how to protect themselves and the patient from radiation during the procedure. They will also be instructed in how to accurately take a medical history and then record data into patient records.
3. Bachelor’s Degree
Part of the coursework for a bachelor’s degree program includes general courses that are required of all bachelor degree candidates. These courses prepare the student for advanced problem solving, a skill that is highly desirable in most medical fields. They also help the student develop advanced communication skills that are also a necessary part of any occupation within the medical field.
In order to expand job opportunities available to the individual, a radiologic technologist may decide to obtain additional training and certification in a more specialized field of radiology. A radiologic technologist may decide to go into mammography, using specialized equipment to perform cancer screenings on breast tissue. Another area on the cutting edge of radiology is nuclear medicine; this specialty of radiology uses radioactive substances as part of the procedure to diagnose specific diseases. Once an individual obtains their radiologic technology certification, there are many ways to pursue advanced training and certification, dependent upon the individual’s interests.
American Registry of Radiologic Technologists will require candidates desiring to take the national certification examination to have earned an academic degree through a recognized program beginning on January 1, 2015. The academic degree must be, at a minimum, an associate’s degree. It does not have to be in radiologic science. The examination typically takes four hours to complete.
More information on certification:
The median salary, which is the salary point at which there are an equal number of radiologic technologists who earn more than that amount and there are an equal number of radiologic technologists who earn less than that amount) was $46,690 per year.
According to the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job opportunities for radiologic technologists are expected to increase by 28% between 2010 and 2020. This growth rate is higher than the average based upon what is expected for other occupations.
The main reason for this increase is the expected increase in the number of elderly patients. Older patients generally have more medical conditions that may lead to a need for radiologic diagnostics. This includes an increased incidence of sprains and breaks due to falls and weakened bones due to arthritis and osteoporosis.
The majority of radiology technologists are employed in the hospital setting. The recent trend, leading to an increase in separate imaging centers, will necessarily lead to an increase in job opportunities for radiologic technologists. As advanced diagnostic equipment becomes more readily available to physicians in private practice, there may be an increase in diagnostic procedures being done in-house. This will lead to an increase in jobs in private physician offices.
The future of radiologic technology