For young students interested in science and interacting with people, choosing a career as a radiologic technologist is ideal. Radiologic technologists (or radiographers) use X-ray and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technologies to develop diagnostic images to assist physicians in diagnosing patients.
To become a radiologic technologist and acquire the proper certification, there are specific processes one has to go through. But worry not; we’ll guide you through every radiologic technologist certification process. Let’s first understand what a radiologic technologist is and eventually move on to how you can get started.
What is A Radiologic Technologist?
Radiologic technologists utilize X-rays and other technologies to deliver images that can assist physicians & healthcare workers in diagnosing and treating various health concerns.
A radiologic technologist will also use other technologies such as CT (computed tomography) scans, MRI, etc. Individuals can reach this career position by attaining an associate’s degree and a licensure exam.
Today, a career in radiology is increasing, with more and more young science enthusiasts entering this career path. So, where does one start? Let’s find out!
Where to Begin?
Whatever field it may be, it’s always better to nurture such interests early on, and the same applies to Radiologic technologists.
Students particularly fond of science should stay ahead by taking various science courses throughout high school.
Courses such as biology, chemistry, and natural sciences are highly recommended, along with additional studies in anatomy and mathematics to prepare for an associate degree course.
Once you’re fresh out of school, one of the first places to initiate research on a career in radiologic technology is ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists).
Over the years, ARRT has certified tons of radiographers, including the first-ever registered technologist in the U.S. Currently, there are over 300k radiologic technologists within the States, making it a vast segment of healthcare providers.
The field of radiologic technologists is rapidly growing. Hence, those interested in pursuing the career must fulfill specific requirements for proper certification.
So, continue reading to learn about the different eligibility for ARRT certification.
Eligibility for Radiologic Technologists
There are two different ways through which RT certification can be achieved: the primary and the post-primary pathway.
To earn the certification, every radiologic technologist seeking the RT certification must meet all three requirements, i.e., ethics, examination, and education.
Let’s start our eligibility criteria section with the Primary Pathway ARRT certification.
1. ARRT Certification: Primary Pathway
Most RTs (radiological technologists) can earn the first ARRT credential through the primary pathway. RT credentials can be acquired in different specialization areas, including:
- Vascular sonography
- Radiation therapy
- Nuclear medicine technology
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Here are the steps one can take to complete the eligibility requirement –
Step 1: Get an Associate Degree for two years
To be eligible for the primary pathway certification exam, every RT candidate must earn a two-year associate’s degree from any program recognized by the ARRT accreditation agency. This will include various accrediting bodies at different regional, national, and programmatic levels.
The accreditation part is essential to ensure educational programs meet peer-reviewed standards. However, the associate degree can be in either radiological sciences or any other field as it is only to fulfill the educational requirement.
The associate’s degree can also be earned before or after completing an educational program recognized by ARRT. For instance, Southwest Tennessee Community College can be taken as a sample institution that’s ARRT acceptable.
Step 2: Complete a Two Years ARRT Recognized Educational Program
The second phase in the primary pathway involves completing an educational program recognized by ARRT in radiologic technology. Students looking for high-quality programs are recommended to seek programs accredited by JRCERT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology).
Graduates from these qualified programs usually earn certification and also become eligible for the ARRT certification exam.
For instance, the radiologic technology program from HCA Midwest Health Research Medical Center in Missouri can be taken as a sample education program recognized by ARRT. It is a full-time, 23-month certificate program that’s fully JRCERT accredited.
2. ARRT Certification: Post-Primary Pathway
The second option, i.e., the post-primary pathway, poses an option for those who already hold ARRT or any other certification but seek to earn extra credentials.
Individuals seeking can earn post-primary credentials through these specializations:
- Breast sonography
- Computed tomography
- Bone densitometry
- Vascular sonography
- Vascular interventional radiography
- Cardiac interventional radiography
This particular pathway can be availed by radiologic technicians who fulfill the following criteria:
- ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) Certification
- NMTCB (Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board) Certification
- ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography) certification
- Sixteen hours of completion of documented education for specific radiological disciplines like bone densitometry or mammography.
Exam Preparation for Radiologic Technologist Certification
Although ARRT doesn’t necessarily endorse study materials, program directors and students can utilize various content specifications while preparing for the exam.
When candidates are approved for the exam post-application, they will receive a status report via mail (for the primary pathway) and online (for the post-primary path).
Applicants get about a year (starting from the day the candidate status report is received) to schedule and finish the exam.
Renewal of Radiologic Technologist Certification
Once the ARRT certification is earned, every registered technologist must complete the following tasks to maintain their certification credentials:
- Complete renewal annually
- Complete & report education activities every two years
- Complete the continuing qualifications requirements every ten years
State Licensure for Radiologic Technologists
About 75% of states have licensing laws for RTs, so radiologic technologists must have a state license before working legally. In some instances, states will also require ARRT certification for applying for the state licensure exams.
These exams remain separate from ARRT exams. The licensing exams include:
- California radiography supervisor & operator
- Operator for done densitometry equipment