What Is a Registered Radiologist Assistant?

A radiology assistant is an advanced radiologic technician who conducts radiology procedures and manages patient care. Read on to learn more about the duties of these technicians, and get info about education and certification requirements. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Description

As a radiologist assistant, you'll use imaging processes, such as x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging, and mammography, to take internal images of patients' bodies under a doctor's order. You'll be responsible for ensuring that images are clearly visible by carefully positioning patients and equipment. You may explain procedures to patients and make sure they are comfortable during the procedure.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), you must comply with federal laws to work with radiologic equipment, which in most states means you must be licensed. To become a Registered Radiologist Assistant (R.R.A.), you need certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART, www.aart.org). Although certification is voluntary in a few states, the BLS mentions that some employers prefer to hire individuals who have certification.

Important Facts About This Career

Median Salary (2018) $59,520 (for radiologic technologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% (for radiologic technologists)
Key Skills Physical strength, ethics, interpersonal skills, math ability
Work Environment Hospital or private physician practice
Similar Occupations Diagnostic medical sonographer, nuclear medicine technologist, radiation therapist

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

AART Certification

The AART is a world-recognized organization that specializes in verifying the skills of those working in radiology. Eligibility for the certification exam includes earning a bachelor's degree, completing a radiologist assistant program, and having one year of experience in the medical field. The AART also requires that you meet its ethical standards, which include being free of any criminal convictions.

The Exam

The R.R.A. exam is administered via computer, and most questions are multiple-choice. The exam covers six major content areas, including questions about patient care, assessment, and management. Questions also cover drugs, anatomy, basic procedures, ethics, and legal requirements. There are two essay questions on the exam based on case studies provided.


Once you earn the R.R.A. designation, you will be required to meet recertification requirements every year. The requirements include complying with all AART rules, regulations, and ethical guidelines during your time of employment. You also must meet continuing education requirements every two years.

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