What Qualifications Do I Need for Radiography Technician Jobs?

Undergraduate degree and certificate programs, as well as certifications, are available to prepare you for a radiography technician job. Radiography technicians test patients for diseases or abnormalities by using advanced X-ray techniques. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Radiologic Technician Education Requirements

If you wish to pursue a job as a radiologic technician, undergraduate degree and advanced certificate programs are offered in the field. You'll usually want to earn an associate's degree to work as a radiologic technician or technologist. A certificate program can give you detailed knowledge of a particular radiologic subject.

Important Facts About Radiologic Technologists

Median Salary (2018) $59,520 (for radiologic technologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% increase in employment expected (for radiologic technologists)
Work Environment Required to stand for long periods; may be exposed to radiation, must learn to follow proper safety procedures; may work evenings, weekends or on call
Similar Occupations MRI technicians, mammographers, radiation therapists, diagnostic medical sonographers, vascular technologists, nuclear medicine technologists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Undergraduate Programs

Associate's degrees are most commonly awarded to those who wish to become radiologic technicians. Schools usually offer an Associate in Science or an Associate in Applied Science in Radiologic Technology. Programs prepare you to operate an X-ray machine, carry out X-ray screenings, process images and protect patients from harmful radiation. Computer knowledge is needed to run the machine, and you must also have strong communication skills to effectively assist patients with their medical visits.

During an undergraduate program, you typically must complete a clinical training experience at a hospital or medical center. Classes that you'll need to take to qualify as a radiologic technician include anatomy, mathematics, physics and medical terminology. If you wish to obtain a more thorough education you can earn your bachelor's degree in radiologic technology. Programs can span four years, or two years if you already hold an associate's degree in the radiological field or are already employed as a radiologic technologist.

Certificate Programs

One-year training programs can allow you to earn an advanced certificate in radiologic technology. These programs are generally designed for students who already have some experience as radiographers or already hold an associate's degree in radiologic technology. Certificate programs are also available in specific areas of radiography, such as mammography, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A certificate program can help you meet the continuing education requirements needed for certification.

Certifications

Although it is not required in all states, certification can give you a more competitive resume to send out to employers. The most common radiologic certification body is the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Some of the available certification examinations administered by the ARRT include radiography, radiation therapy, magnetic resonance imaging and sonography, among others (www.arrt.org). To receive certification with the ARRT, you typically must graduate from an accredited radiography program, hold clinical experience and pass an exam. You must also take continuing education courses after you've been certified to maintain your credential.

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