• According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for radiologic technologists or technicians is "projected to grow faster than average" over the next few years. This means there will be plenty of opportunities for those who are certified and licensed to use sophisticated X-ray machines, CT scanners and other health-related technology. Depending on your career goals, you can obtain a certificate in radiology or continue your education to earn an advanced degree.


    To become an X-ray technician (radiologic technologist), you will have to complete at least 21 to 24 months of training for a certificate or associate's degree. Advanced degree programs are also available for those who want to manage radiology departments, specialize in specific types of radiology (mammography, CT scanning, bone densitometry) or radiation assistants. A bachelor's degree in radiology or master's degree in health administration or business is usually necessary to qualify for these positions. When choosing an academic program, consider those that have accreditation from The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology or The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART). These programs include both classroom and hands-on experience for students. Courses common to these programs include biology, chemistry, medical terminology, medical ethics, patient care, radiation physics, radiobiology and anatomy.


    Depending on the state in which you live, a license to practice radiology may be necessary to work as an X-ray technician. License testing may include a written or oral exam. To learn more about licensing, contact your state's health board or consult your academic adviser.


    The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists offers certification to those who have completed a degree program that has been approved or accredited by AART. You will have to pass a written exam to earn certification. Those with this certification are favored by many employers who want to hire those interested in continuing their education and training. To maintain your certification, you will have to complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years. This certification is voluntary and is not a requirement for a state license.

    Additional Skills

    In addition to education and licensing, X-ray technicians must be able to work with a variety of patients including the elderly and children. Because this position is physical in nature, you will be on your feet for much of your shift. Being physically fit can help when moving or lifting patients, walking from one department to another within a hospital or clinic or when working in a mobile X-ray unit. A background in science or math can help prepare you for your career. Organizational skills, computer skills and a willingness to continue your education and training can be beneficial when seeking promotions.

    Source: Radiology Technician - A Comprehensive Look at the Profession

    Bureau of Labor Statistics: Radiologic Technologists and Technicians

    More Information:

    American Society of Radiologic Technicians

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