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Radiology Technician: Degrees, Careers & Certification

Get information about degree options if you’re thinking of becoming a radiology technician.

woman technician in front of scan results
Home » Radiology Technician

What is a Radiology Technician?

Also known as X-ray technicians, radiologic technologists use X-ray and other technologies to provide images that help physicians and healthcare workers diagnose and treat health concerns. To obtain the images, you’ll place and process X-ray film and position shields to protect patients from radiation.

What You’ll Do

You’ll play a key role in helping to identify conditions such as cancer, ulcers, or broken bones by using state of the art X-ray and other technologies equipment. You’ll need to be especially aware of radiation safety measures and protection devices to comply with government regulations and to ensure the ongoing safety of patients and staff.

As the job description and your professional certification expands, career opportunities may increase, and the outlook for employment as a radiology tech could be strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the field is expected to increase by 7% through 2029, which is faster than all other occupations. This means that now is an excellent time to become a radiology technician. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Where Radiology Techs Work

Take a look at common workplaces for radiology technicians and technologists, and the percentages of technicians employed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

State, local, and private hospitals

61%

Doctor’s office or clinic

18%

Medical and diagnostic laboratories

7%

Physician’s offices

14%

Outpatient care centers

3%

Training Information

There are formal education programs in radiography that lead to a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree. The associate’s degree program is the most common. These certification programs typically last from six to twelve months, and include both classroom and clinical training.

You can expect to study these subjects in your education program:

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology
  • Patient care
  • Medical ethics
  • Radiation physics and protection
  • Image evaluation

One thing to consider when choosing any program is accreditation, which is a seal of approval for your curriculum in that’s it’s been reviewed by professional associations or subject matter experts, or regional accreditation agencies. It’s also a requirement for licensure in some states, and all states require licensure. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredits educational and training programs in radiography.

Radiology Technician Personality Traits and Skills

Radiology technologists work with patients who may be anxious or fearful about the imaging procedure or a potential diagnosis. Being able to help patients move through a procedure with as much ease as possible is the mark of a good radiology tech.

Learn what personality traits and skills are necessary to work as a radiology technologist.

You are …


  • An active listener
  • Organized
  • A clear communicator
  • Comfortable working with the public
  • A problem solver

You should have …


  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Time management skills
  • A knack for critical thinking
  • Patience
  • Attention to detail

Salary

Annual Median Salary

Radiology Tech

$61,900

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for radiology technicians and technologists in 2020 was $61,900. Salaries can range depending on where you work. The highest 10% earned more than $92,660, with the highest earners typically working in federal government facilities.

Licensing and Certification

In addition to graduating from an accredited program, to become licensed, you must pass a certification exam from the state or from The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, which is called the ARRT Radiography Exam. You must earn a grade of 75 or above to pass. For specific state requirements, contact your state’s health board.

To maintain their certification, radiologic technologists must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years.