Radiologic Technologists


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If this career interests you, take plenty of math and science classes in high school. Biology, anatomy, chemistry, and physics classes will be particularly useful to you. Take computer classes to become comfortable working with this technology. English classes will help you improve your communication skills. You will need these skills both when interacting with the patients and when working as part of a health care team. Finally, consider taking photography classes. Photography classes will give you experience with choosing film, framing an image, and developing photographs.

Postsecondary Training

After high school, you will need to complete an education program in radiography. Programs range in length from one to four years. Depending on length, the programs award a certificate, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree. Two-year associate's degree programs are the most popular option.

Educational programs are available in hospitals, medical centers, colleges and universities, and vocational and technical institutes. It is also possible to get radiologic technology training in the armed forces.

The Joint Review on Education in Radiologic Technology accredits certificate, associate degree, and bachelor's degree programs. To enter an accredited program, you must be a high school graduate; some programs require one or two years of higher education. You will complete both classroom training and clinical training (which will provide you with hands-on experience working with patients and imaging technology). Courses in radiologic technology education programs include anatomy, physiology, patient care, physics, radiation protection, medical ethics, principles of imaging, medical terminology, radiobiology, and pathology. For some supervisory or administrative jobs in this field, a bachelor's or master's degree may be required. 

Other Education or Training

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists offers continuing education (CE) courses on radiologic practice issues, patient care, and leadership. The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography also provide CE classes and webinars. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Radiologic technologists can become certified through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) after graduating from an accredited program in radiography, radiation therapy, or nuclear medicine. After becoming certified, many technologists choose to register with the ARRT. Registration is an annual procedure required to maintain the certification. Registered technologists meet the following three criteria: They agree to comply with the ARRT rules and regulations, comply with the ARRT standards of ethics, meet continuing education requirements every two years and complete continuing qualifications requirements every 10 years. Only technologists who are currently registered can designate themselves as ARRT registered technologists and use the initials RT after their names. Although registration and certification are voluntary, many jobs are open only to technologists who have acquired these credentials.

In addition to receiving primary certification in various imaging disciplines, radiologic technologists can receive advanced qualifications in mammography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, quality management, bone densitometry, cardiac-interventional radiography, vascular-interventional radiography, sonography, vascular sonography, or breast sonography. As the work of radiologic technologists grows increasingly complex and employment opportunities become more competitive, the desirability of registration and certification will also grow.

Most states require practicing radiologic technologists to be licensed. You will need to check with the state in which you hope to work about its specific licensure requirements.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Participation in radiologic technology internships while in college will provide useful experience. 

Radiologic technologists should be responsible individuals with a mature and caring nature. They should be personable and enjoy interacting with all types of people, including those who are very ill. A compassionate attitude is essential to deal with patients who may be frightened or in pain.