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Educational Requirements for a Radiology Technician

Majors Overview December 28, 2012

The healthcare industry relies on radiology technicians to take x-rays for use in diagnosis of medical issues face by patients. They have to ensure that patients are exposed to a minimal amount of exposure to radiation by taking some precautions devised towards this objective. An aspiring radiology technician must satisfy a formal education requirement by completing an accredited training course in radiography, apart from satisfying licensure norms to be allowed to practice their profession in their state. In this article, we will look at the career path of a radiology technician and discuss what an aspiring radiology technician must do in order to pursue their career.

Educational Prerequisites of a Radiology Technician

There are several formal training courses that a prospective radiology technician can enroll into. In order to get a job in the United States, a prospective candidate will have to obtain either a certificate or a degree — bachelor or associate — in radiology. The majority of radiology technicians begin their career path equipped with an associate degree. As many as thirty-five bachelor degree courses, three hundred ninety seven associate degree courses and two hundred thirteen certificate programs have been approved by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)).

Associate Degree courses

Associate degree courses in radiography are usually two years duration and students enrolling in these programs are provided clinical and didactic career instruction. Coursework includes general education curricula in communication and science. Technical schools and community colleges run Associate of Applied Science in Radiography courses. The most popular courses among aspiring radiology technicians are programs in radiation protection, radiographic physics and imaging procedures and analysis. Usually, such courses incorporate progressive clinical training aimed at enhancing students’ radiology practice and patient care.

Bachelor Degree Courses

Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology courses are offered at some universities and colleges. These programs usually last for four years and focus on advanced technology, patient care and diagnostics aimed at students who are pursuing careers in various healthcare facilities including clinics and hospitals. Typically, coursework covers topics such as specific radiography procedures, professional research, pathology and radiological imaging. Hands on training are imparted through clinical practicums in the form of rotations in healthcare facilities including clinical settings.

Licensure Norms

Satisfying state licensure norms is mandatory for radiology technicians who wish to practice their profession. Such norms are devised by specific states’ health boards and usually require candidates to take a licensing exam. In some states, certification by the American Registration of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is accepted in place of passing the state licensing examination (source: www.arrt.org).

Certification Norms

Certificate courses in radiology usually last for duration of one to two years. Coursework is delivered in a combination of classroom lectures and hands on training in clinical settings. Students who complete these programs are equipped with the necessary technical skills to get them entry-level jobs in the field of radiology technology. Typically, Coursework, in such programs, covers patient care, image processing and radiology equipment. Certificate programs include practicums — supervised by professionals — aimed at training candidates to perform clinical radiology studies.

Obtaining a certificate is not a mandatory requirement, but it will enhance a radiology technician credentials and serves to show their competency in the profession. There are various credential courses offered by the ARRT; these include certification courses in radiography. To obtain a certificate, a candidate has to complete a formal training course approved by the ARRT and pass a primary certification exam. The norms for certification will undergo a change with effect from January 1, 2015 when prospective radiology technicians are required to hold an associate degree at minimum. Post-primary certification is offered by the ARRT, these include radiology technology specializations such as radiologist assistance, sonography, cardiac intervention and mammography. Norms for certification include further training.

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