UPDATED JULY 23, 2021
For any destination you have in mind, there are several ways to get there. Of course, if you’ve ever been lost, you know some routes are more direct than others. It’s the same with becoming a radiologic technologist – there are different roads you can take, so it’s important to find what will work best for you.
There are three ways to satisfy the educational requirements for a career as a radiologic technologist – also known as a radiographer:
According to a recent American Society for Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) survey, about 18% of rad techs choose the certificate route. A certificate in radiologic technology does not meet the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) educational degree requirements in radiography. That means it’s up to the student to coordinate the prerequisite academic coursework (including anatomy, science, math, and English) from an associated college or university before beginning a professional “rad tech” coursework.
The time needed for certificate programs varies, and the training may focus on a specific imaging method or a particular population, such as senior adults or children.
About 25% of those in the radiologic technology field get there as part of a traditional bachelor’s degree program, which involves about 120 hours of college coursework and can take four years to complete.
Four-year programs are often the choice for students who know they want to go into healthcare management.
Two-Year A.A.S. Degree
The ASRT survey shows more than 50% of rad tech students interested in becoming radiologic technologists choose the two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree.
This A.A.S. degree is an integrated two-year degree program that includes the prerequisite and general education courses, professional radiologic technology courses, and labs. When students demonstrate specific competencies, they can be assigned real-world clinical experiences that increase proficiency in applying what’s been learned.
If you’ve explored the medical imaging profession, you already know it’s a healthcare support field with a bright future and can lead in many different career directions. Becoming a radiologic technologist is considered one top the top 15 health care support jobs in 2021, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The credentialing organization American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) lists five areas as the primary pathways to becoming a radiologic technologist. What they are and the certification credentials for each:
Following one of these certifications, your career can continue into post-primary pathways like computed tomography (CT), bone densitometry (BD), vascular sonography (VS), and cardiac interventional radiography (CI).
As always, be sure to check a university’s program coordinators for specific admission requirements.
How to Know Where to Begin
You’ve heard the saying “keep the end in mind,” right? Well, remember the key to becoming a radiologic technologist and finding employment achieving ARRT certification by completing the national competency exam. That goal should be at the center of any rad tech program you explore.
Most U.S. states also require licensure, so you must meet the expectations of any state in which you plan to work. You can find details about each state’s requirements here.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university located in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of the Kansas City metro.
The journey toward becoming a radiologic technologist can happen for you at CUKC. Our A.A.S. degree in Radiologic Technology program was designed with the guidance of imaging center professionals. Instructors have real-life experience doing the imaging work they are teaching. By achieving specific competencies, you can be involved in patient care as early as the second semester.
The CUKC program takes students on the radiography primary pathway to becoming radiologic technologists. Our program places an equal emphasis on patient interaction skills – the soft skills needed today – and technical competency.
Our radiologic technology school also features:
For more details on becoming a radiologic technologist, get the free eBook, Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist, now!