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Career Guide: Radiologic Technologists and Technicians

Career Guide: Radiologic Technologists and Technicians

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Preparation for this profession is offered in hospitals, colleges and universities, and less frequently at vocational-technical institutes. Hospitals employ most radiologic technologists. Employers prefer to hire technologists with formal training.

Education and training. Formal training programs in radiography range in length from 1 to 4 years and lead to a certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree. Two-year associate degree programs are most prevalent.

Some 1-year certificate programs are available for experienced radiographers or individuals from other health occupations, such as medical technologists and registered nurses, who want to change fields. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in one of the radiologic technologies is desirable for supervisory, administrative, or teaching positions.

More on Radiologic Techs


Salary: $32,750 - $68,920
Min. Education: Certificate or Associate's
Related Careers: Cardiovascualar Technologist & Technician, Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology accredits most formal training programs for the field. The committee accredited more than 600 radiography programs in 2007. Admission to radiography programs require, at a minimum, a high school diploma or the equivalent. High school courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology are helpful. The programs provide both classroom and clinical instruction in anatomy and physiology, patient care procedures, radiation physics, radiation protection, principles of imaging, medical terminology, positioning of patients, medical ethics, radiobiology, and pathology.

Licensure. Federal legislation protects the public from the hazards of unnecessary exposure to medical and dental radiation by ensuring that operators of radiologic equipment are properly trained. Under this legislation, the Federal Government sets voluntary standards that the States may use for accrediting training programs and licensing individuals who engage in medical or dental radiography. In 2007, 40 states required licensure for practicing radiologic technologists and technicians.

Certification and other qualifications. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers voluntary certification for radiologic technologists. In addition, 35 States use ARRT-administered exams for State licensing purposes. To be eligible for certification, technologists generally must graduate from an accredited program and pass an examination. Many employers prefer to hire certified radiographers. To be recertified, radiographers must complete 24 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

Radiologic technologists should be sensitive to patients’ physical and psychological needs. They must pay attention to detail, follow instructions, and work as part of a team. In addition, operating complicated equipment requires mechanical ability and manual dexterity.

Advancement. With experience and additional training, staff technologists may become specialists, performing CT scanning, MR, and angiography, a procedure during which blood vessels are x rayed to find clots. Technologists also may advance, with additional education and certification, to become a radiologist assistant.

Experienced technologists also may be promoted to supervisor, chief radiologic technologist, and, ultimately, department administrator or director. Depending on the institution, courses or a master’s degree in business or health administration may be necessary for the director’s position.

Some technologists progress by specializing in the occupation to become instructors or directors in radiologic technology programs; others take jobs as sales representatives or instructors with equipment manufacturers.

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