How to Become a Radiologic Technologist: Explore Your Path (2023)

How to Become a Radiologic Technologist: Explore Your Path (1)

You are excited about helping people with your career and have narrowed your job prospects in the medical field. But after realizing that nursing isn't for you and that becoming a doctor would take a lot of time and money, it seems you have no choice.

Fortunately, there are other options. The field of radiology offers aspiring healthcare careers a path that extends beyond a career as a nurse or physician, while still allowing them to interact directly with patients and do important work that can have a lasting impact. And what else? Employment of radiology technologists is projected to increase by 13% through 2026Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1

If you are interested in a career that combines the human aspect of patient care with some of the high-tech elements of modern healthcare, consider a career as a radiologic technologist. Keep reading to find out what to expect in this career and learn how to become a radiologic technologist.

A Day in the Life of a Radiology Technologist

whileBasic Duties of a Radiology TechnologistOne of the most important aspects of the job is communication with patients, as it focuses on performing diagnostic imaging tests, such as X-rays and CT scans. In many cases, patients who visit a radiologic technologist arrive with anxiety or pain. The most effective medical professionals in this role use their interpersonal skills to alleviate patients' fears and apprehensions about their procedures.

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Radiologic technologists also need to communicate regularly with physicians. Unlike radiology technologists, who focus primarily on setting up x-rays and maintaining equipment, technologists help interpret the x-rays and often work with the family doctor to make a diagnosis.

In addition to being a very communicative profession, radiology technology also requires some creativity and precision. Working with diagnostic imaging is no different than a photographer's job, as getting the right image for a diagnosis requires using your skilled eye to find the right angle. It's not the same as framing old photos on social media, but you have to pay attention to detail to get the right depth and contrast for an effective image.

5 steps to becoming a radiologic technologist

Now that you know a little more about what a radiology technologist does, consider these five steps that can help you launch your own career in radiology technology.

1. Find a program

Most radiologic technologist programs are offered at the associate level, which typically takes about two years if you apply for a full course load each semester.2While there are some four-year programs, the field of radiology offers so many post-certification options that an associate's degree is often the perfect place to start your career as a radiologic technologist.

However, if you are concerned about managing a reasonable amount of courses, there are flexible options. For example, Rasmussen College offers aRadiology Technology Graduate ProgramWith online courses and clinical experiences and on-campus labs, this allows students like you to keep working while building their new career.

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When choosing a program, one of the most important things to consider is how well it prepares you for certification. HeAmerican Registry of Radiologic Technologists(ARRT) is the main certification body; In fact, many states require radiologic technologists to obtain AART credentials as part of their licensing process. If you're not sure about a program, check it outart website.

2. Complete your course and get certified

If you're curious about the type of course you need to take to specialize in radiology technology, you can expect subjects like anatomy, pathology, and patient care. You can also expect a lot of hands-on training, working directly with various technology devices and programs.

If all goes according to plan, with good instructors and a little dedication, you'll be well prepared for certification once you graduate. To earn certification, the ARRT requires candidates to take a comprehensive exam that tests their relevant vocabulary and knowledge.

before drinkingthe ARRT exam, there are a few things you should know.

  • It can be intimidating at first. Security at an ARRT testing center is pretty tight. In addition to showing two IDs and taking a photo, your palms will be scanned before and after the authentication test. But don't let that worry you, it just reflects the importance of the exam. As long as you study well in school, the hard work is already done. The test is just an opportunity to show what you've already learned.
  • You can apply for accommodation. You can't just make a formal requestAmericans with Disabilities Act(ADA), but if you're just doing a better test without the sound of coughing or loud typing, you might want to order earplugs or noise canceling headphones before starting the test.
  • Your provisional score is not your final score. When you complete the test, your computer will display a score based on the multiple choice questions you answer, but it will not reflect the entire test. You will receive your final result in the mail within three weeks of the exam date.

3. Find the license in the state you want to work in

More than75% two statesrequire radiology technicians to be licensed. While some states have stricter guidelines than others, many accept certification from the ARRT or equivalent organization as sufficient proof of qualification.

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Before you embark on your path to becoming a radiologic technologist, it's a good idea to review your state's requirements to ensure you're ticking all the right boxes when planning your path.

4. Start your job search

Although most radiologic technologists work in hospitals,positionsThey can be found in diagnostic imaging centers, therapy centers or obstetric centers. Regardless of where you work, you should expect a pretty consistent work schedule.

Compared to other healthcare professionals, who often have to work long, night shifts, radiologic technologists tend to have more stable work schedules. For example,some positionsYou can choose between eight or ten hour shifts; four- or five-day weeks; will be the first, second or third; and weekend programs.

Keep this diversity in mind as you begin your job search as a radiology technician: it's a good idea to decide what you're looking for and where you want to be flexible before you start applying.

5. Consider pursuing a specialty after certification

After you complete your associate degree, earn your certification, earn your licensure, and begin your career in radiology technology, you may decide that you want to focus your attention on a specific area of ​​expertise within that field.

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There are several different areas that you can focus your career as a radiologist on if you wish. Recertification options for radiologic technologists include the following:

  • Angiography Technology
  • Technologist in Bone Densitometry
  • Computed Tomography Technology
  • Mammography Technologists
  • MRT technology
  • nuclear medicine doctor
  • ultrasound
  • Vascular Ultrasound Technologist

The post-certification process typically involves 16-20 hours of classroom instruction, completing a list of clinical procedures, and taking an exam similar to the main ARRT exam. Continuing education courses are offered at a variety of universities and third-party organizations, as well as atAmerican Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).

Ready to take the first step?

If you're looking forward to a rewarding career in healthcare, you can help put patients on the path to healing by becoming a radiologic technologist. Whether you become the one to calm patients when they are scared or simply be a comforting presence when there are no words to say, you can have the opportunity to make a real difference with a career in radiology.

For more information about what to expect, seeRasmussen College Radiologic Technology front page.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [aufgerufen im Juli 2019] Information represents national averages for the occupations listed and includes workers of all levels of education and experience. Terms of employment in your region may vary.
2Graduation time depends on the number of transfer credits accepted and the number of courses completed each semester.

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What is the career path for a rad tech? ›

Career Opportunities: Opportunities for RPAs are available in hospitals, imaging centers, sales, applications, and marketing. Radiologic technologists may also progress to different levels of opportunity in the areas of education, management, and marketing.

Is radiology a good career path? ›

Radiology is a good career choice. You'll work with patients to help them improve and learn about the body's workings. Furthermore, Radiology is a rewarding career, one of the highest-paying jobs in the medical field.

Why do you wish to pursue a career in radiologic technology? ›

You Want to Make a Difference

Radiologic Technologists are an essential part of the hospital team. Without imaging, patients can't get the diagnosis they need. You'll provide patients with scans that will detect trauma or disease. This process is vital to saving someone's life.

Is Rad Tech hard to study? ›

Challenging due to some terror professors =) For the four year curriculum all you have to do is study and pass the exams. Skills are always required. Specifically the student must have a logical thinking, interpersonal skills and hard work to succeed as a Radiologic Tech.

Is being a rad tech worth it? ›

Once you know the inside story of a radiologic technologist's career, becoming one will likely interest you. The healthcare role rad techs have is vitally important and provides a high level of personal satisfaction. It's a top-25 healthcare job according to the U.S. News annual rankings.

Why is radiology so hard? ›

Radiology residency is known for being especially challenging due to its high volume of reading materials. In fact, many radiology residents have reported experiencing burnout throughout their program. Although all residencies are physically and mentally challenging, radiology is often considered especially draining.

What degree is best for radiology? ›

Radiologists must have an M.D. degree. Medical school will take four years. The first two years will be in the classroom, learning pathology, pathophysiology, anatomy, pharmacology, embryology, human behavior, and biochemistry. In anatomy class, students will be working hands-on with human cadavers.

Is radiology a good career for girls? ›

What makes radiology a suitable profession for women is that there are no emergencies like in paediatrics and gynaecology; one can choose schedules at will, offering a distinct advantage of flexible working hours. The remuneration for radiologists is in-line with seniority and skills.

What qualities make a good radiology tech? ›

Q. What personal qualities do successful radiologic technologists have?
  • Interested in establishing a rapport with people.
  • Active listener who's responsive to patient needs.
  • Takes responsibility, shows initiative.
  • Ability to show compassion.
  • Adaptability to constantly changing imaging scenarios.
  • Attention to detail, organized.
May 29, 2018

How do you answer why do you want to be a radiographer? ›

1. Improve and save lives. Diagnostic radiographers are very important in the world of healthcare. Doctors need accurate radiography tests to ensure diseases are caught in time and patients receive the best treatment possible.

What qualities make a good radiologist? ›

Skills and qualities of a radiologist
  • A keen and eager mind.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Aptitude for problem-solving.
  • An interest in imaging.
  • Team working skills.
  • Determination.
  • Versatile and adaptable nature.

What 2 skills are important for a radiologist? ›

1. Communication Skills
  • Physicians – Doctors provide details on what part of the body needs to be scanned.
  • Radiologists. ...
  • Colleagues – Teamwork is required. ...
  • Patients – Working with patients requires compassion, a calm demeanor, and the ability to explain what's happening during the procedure.
Nov 24, 2017

What is the easiest way to become a radiologist? ›

  1. have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  2. complete a bachelor's degree;
  3. graduate from a medical school;
  4. complete an internship;
  5. pass a state licensing exam;
  6. complete a residency program in radiology;
  7. pass additional exams to become board certified; and.
  8. complete an optional specialization fellowship.

What are the disadvantages of being a radiologist? ›

Cons of being a Radiologist

Erratic hours. As healthcare has emerged to be more patient friendly, hospitals and imaging centers have expanded hours and procedures performed. Some specialties like interventional radiology deal with emergencies so unpredictable hours may result. Extensive educational requirements.

Is rad tech easier than nursing? ›

It's a common misconception that Radiology Tech School is harder than Nursing School. In fact, both radiology tech school and nursing school are difficult in their own ways and require different skill sets and knowledge.

Do you need math for Rad Tech? ›

Becoming a radiologic technologist

Individuals considering a career as a radiographer should excel in math and science, communication, and critical thinking. Be sure to take advantage of high school courses like anatomy and physiology, computer sciences, biology, chemistry, physics, and algebra.

Is there a lot of math in radiology? ›

The study of radiography requires a high degree of mathematical knowledge. Radiography students are required to have three semesters of radiation science. Radiation science uses mathematics and science to teach how the atomic development of x-radiation occurs.

What type of Rad Tech makes the most money? ›

7 highest-paying radiology jobs
  • MRI technologist. National average salary: $61,370 per year. ...
  • Radiologic technologist. National average salary: $65,144 per year. ...
  • Cardiovascular technologist. National average salary: $77,740 per year. ...
  • Sonographer. ...
  • Radiation therapist. ...
  • Nuclear medicine technologist. ...
  • Ultrasonographer.
Dec 14, 2021

Which state pays rad techs the most? ›

California has the highest radiologic technician salary of $73,568. Iowa has the lowest radiologic technician salary of $38,592. The national average salary for radiologic technicians is $50,622. The national hourly pay for radiologic technicians is $24.34.

How long is rad tech course? ›

The Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology or BS RadTech is a four-year degree program that trains students on operating various medical equipment that include CT scanners, MRIs, and X-rays.

What is the hardest part of being a radiologist? ›

The most challenging and rewarding aspects of diagnostic radiology: The most challenging aspect of taking care of patients in radiology is the lack of sufficient clinical information about the patient to ensure the best interpretation of their images.

Is radiology tech a stressful job? ›

After all, you'll be working with emergency situations that often involve trauma. Regardless of where you choose to work, there will be times when you'll need to comfort patients going through difficult times. You may also need to deal with packed x-ray schedules and strenuous days.

How many hours DO radiologists work a day? ›

Most radiologists work the normal hours of a physician, so they have a 40-hour work week. Most radiologists work shifts that are either 8 hours or 12 hours long. These shifts can be during the daytime, evening, or overnight depending on the location of where they work and their specific availability.

What pays the most in radiology? ›

Radiation oncologists and radiologists earn the highest average salaries in this field. However, students must attend medical school to qualify for these positions. Job candidates can also find lucrative radiology careers with high growth potential in roles that require less education.

Can you do radiology without a degree? ›

Radiologic technologists must earn either an associate or bachelor's degree to be eligible for certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). There are no national licensing requirements for radiologic technologists, though many states have their own individual licensing processes.

What qualifications do you need for radiology? ›

Entry requirements

To become a diagnostic radiographer, you must first successfully complete an approved degree or masters in diagnostic radiography. Degree courses take three or four years full time, or up to six years part time. There are also some postgraduate courses that can take two years.

Is radiology a good job for introverts? ›

Radiology is absolutely not a strictly introverted field and it isn't just sitting in a dark room all day, not speaking with a single other human and then going home. It's a very social experience and can be the perfect field for any type of person. There is opportunity to talk to clinical staff.

Is radiology a good lifestyle? ›

There's a lot to love about radiology. Radiology is one of the ROAD lifestyle specialties, standing for radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, and dermatology. It's not hard to maintain a good work-life balance, and you'll be well compensated for your work, making an average of $427,000 per year.

Is there a future in radiology? ›

Radiologists also have the knowledge to work together with clinicians since radiology has become the crossroads in many diseases' clinical pathway. So, in the near future, with the help of AI, radiologists will be able to devote even greater efforts to providing a better medical service together with other disciplines.

What is the next step after Rad Tech? ›

With experience, Radiologic Technologists also can advance to supervisory positions, such as chief technologist, department administrator or director. A master's degree in business or health administration might be required for a director's position.

What is the most a rad tech can make? ›

  • 10th Percentile: $46,850.
  • 25th Percentile: $48,900.
  • 75th Percentile: $77,290.
  • 90th Percentile: $94,880.
  • Projected job growth: 6.3%

How long does it take to become a radiology tech? ›

Depending on the ultimate degree you earn—an associate or a bachelor's degree—a radiologic technologist program can vary in length from roughly two to four years.

Do rad techs do math? ›

It is necessary for radiologic technologists to have mathematical skills, to possess knowledge of radiation science, to graduate from an accredited radiology program and to pass the national registry certification examination given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Is a rad tech the same as an Xray Tech? ›

To start, radiology technologists also are known as X-ray technicians, radiologic technologists, and radiographers. In addition to X-rays, RTs can earn certifications in other imaging procedures, such as MRI, CT scans, sonography, and mammography.

Is radiology tech better than MRI Tech? ›

Even though both careers come with promising outlooks, the data shows higher values for those pursuing a job as an MRI technologist. In May 2020, BLS reported an average annual wage of $74,690 for magnetic resonance imaging technologists. In comparison, their radiologic tech colleagues were only paid $61,900.

What is the difference between a Rad Tech and a sonographer? ›

ultrasound technologist relates to the technology each one uses. Radiologic technologists typically operate equipment that uses radiation to create medical images. Ultrasound technologists, on the other hand, operate equipment that uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images.

What are the dangers of being a rad tech? ›

Conclusion. There are dangers involved with being a radiology technician, such as cancer risk and radiation exposure. However, properly following safety regulations and using modern technology may make risks like cancer development less threatening over the years.

How do radiology techs make more money? ›

Here is how you can improve your radiologic technologist salary.
  1. Get a better degree to increase radiologic technologist salaries. In this field, a degree is very important to your radiologic technologist's salaries. ...
  2. Try to get more real-life experience. ...
  3. Learn more specializations. ...
  4. Find employment in large cities.
Jul 8, 2021

What is the fastest way to become a radiologist? ›

This includes completing an undergraduate degree which usually takes four years, followed by four years of Medical school, then a one year internship, followed by four years of residency training in Diagnostic Radiology.

Is getting into radiology hard? ›

Becoming a radiologist isn't easy. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work—medical students and residents often have difficulty coping with the pressure. That's why it's so important to make sure becoming a doctor is what you really want before you commit.


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