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How Can I Get an X-Ray Tech License?

X-ray techs are now known as radiologic technologists. Obtaining a radiologic tech license is dependent upon state requirements and may include formal training and professional certification. Keep reading to learn how to get your radiologic tech license.

Radiologic Tech Career Overview

Radiologic technologists take x-ray images that physicians use to diagnose medical conditions. As a radiologic tech, your work will involve maintaining imaging equipment, explaining procedures to patients, positioning patients so you get the correct images and consulting with physicians to determine whether the images you take are good enough to make a diagnosis. You might also be responsible for taking computed tomography (CT) images and mammograms.

Important Facts About Radiologic Technologists

Median Salary (2018) $61,240
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13%
Career Specializations X-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Mammography
Cardiovascular interventional procedures
Similar Occupations Radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Many states require radiologic technologists to complete an educational program that has been accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Training programs result in a certification of completion, associate's degree or bachelor's degree, but associate's degree programs are the most common. Sometimes x-ray training is paired with training in other healthcare skills, such as EKG monitoring or medical assisting.

Training typically involves a combination of coursework and clinical practice. Coursework often includes medical terminology, procedures for working with radiation, radiographic imagery and digital radiography. You'll learn how to produce X-rays of specific areas of the human body, such as the chest, extremities, torso, and cardiovascular systems.

State Licensing Requirements

Some states require radiologic technicians to be licensed. Requirements vary, but most states require you to graduate from an accredited education program and pass the certification exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). HIV/AIDS training is also a licensing requirement in some states.

Certification

While some states and employers require you to obtain ARRT certification, in other instances, certification is voluntary. Besides graduating from an accredited education program, certification requirements include passing a background check and agreeing to certain ethical standards. You also need to pass a skills assessment examination. In addition to radiography certification, the ARRT also offers certification in specialty areas, such as mammography, bone densitometry, and magnetic resonance imagery. Specialty certification typically requires either graduation from an accredited program or certification in radiography and work experience in your specialty area. Starting January 1, 2016, radiologic tech candidates in these specialty areas will also be required to complete 16 hours of structured education related to the content outlines for the certification exam.

License Renewal

Most state licenses expire after a certain number of years and require renewal. Renewal requirements can vary but may include accumulating a specific number of continuing education hours to keep your skills up-to-date. Registered techs must renew certification each year. ARRT certification must also be renewed every two years by fulfilling continuing education requirements and, in some states, keeping your certification status current is a required part of licensing.