What You Need to Know About Rad Tech Requirements and Education?

What You Need to Know About Rad Tech Requirements and Education?

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
Share this post

Are you considering a career as a Radiologic Technologist (Rad tech)? Understanding the educational requirements, job roles, and average compensation in this field is vital for your career planning. In this article, we delve into what it takes to join this exciting profession, the differences between Rad Techs and Radiologic Technologists, the significance of accredited programs, and the various education paths available. We'll also shed light on typical imaging procedures, insights on career benefits of higher education, and collaboration opportunities with other healthcare professionals.

What are the Basic Rad Tech Requirements & Education?

To become a radiologic technologist, also known as a radiography tech or rad tech, there are some basic education requirements that need to be met. Radiologic technologists are medical imaging professionals who perform diagnostic imaging examinations like x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

At a minimum, radiologic technologists need an associate degree in radiologic technology from an accredited program. These programs are usually 2 years long and include both classroom education and hands-on clinical training in a healthcare setting. Coursework covers topics like anatomy, patient care, radiation physics, imaging procedures, and more.

In addition to an associate degree, radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Certification exams are administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and require meeting ethics and education requirements plus passing the certification exam.

Some radiologic technologists choose to pursue a bachelor's degree, which can allow them to advance into leadership roles or specialize in areas like MRI or CT imaging. These 4-year radiologic technology programs build on the associate degree curriculum with coursework in advanced modalities, healthcare administration, research methods, and more.


What are the Education Requirements for a Radiologic Technologist?

Here is an overview of the key education requirements to become a radiologic technologist:

  • Earn an associate degree in radiologic technology - Typically takes 2 years and includes radiography-specific courses plus clinical rotations.
  • Complete an accredited program - Makes graduates eligible for ARRT certification exams.
  • Get licensed or certified - Most states require licensing. ARRT certification is the standard.
  • Renew certification - ARRT certification must be renewed every 2 years through continuing education.
  • Optional bachelor's degree - Allows specialization and career advancement opportunities.

High school students interested in becoming a radiologic technologist should take science courses like anatomy, physiology, and physics. Communication skills are also important when interacting with patients.

How are Rad Techs and Radiologic Technologists Different?

"Rad tech" and "radiologic technologist" are often used interchangeably. However, there can be some differences:

  • "Rad tech" is a more general, informal term that may refer to any healthcare professional who uses radiation for imaging or treatment.
  • "Radiologic technologist" refers specifically to professionals who perform diagnostic imaging like x-rays, CTs, and MRIs.
  • The terms are frequently used interchangeably for radiologic technologists, but "rad tech" can also include radiation therapists or nuclear medicine techs.
  • Proper credentials like ARRT certification or a degree from an accredited program specify someone's qualifications as a radiologic technologist.

In most cases, if someone says they are a "rad tech," they mean they are specifically a radiologic technologist, not a radiation therapist or nuclear medicine technologist. But it's good to confirm credentials if there is any ambiguity.

What is the Importance of an Accredited Program in Radiologic Technology?

Completing an accredited radiologic technology program is extremely important for several reasons:

  • Certification Eligibility - Graduates from accredited programs qualify to take ARRT certification exams.
  • Quality Education - Accredited programs meet strict educational standards that ensure graduates are qualified.
  • Clinical Training - Accredited programs provide robust clinical experience in healthcare settings.
  • Employability - Many states and employers require ARRT certification, which requires an accredited program.

There are over 700 accredited radiologic technology programs across the country. Look for programs accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) when researching radiography programs.

Attending an unaccredited program is not worth the risks. It will make it very difficult to become certified, find a job, or transfer credits if you want to further your education later on.

What is the Average Compensation and Labor Statistics for Rad Techs?

What is the Average Hourly Wage of a Radiologic Technologist?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average hourly wage for radiologic technologists was $32.29 as of May 2021. The lowest 10% earned less than $24.83 per hour, while the highest 10% earned more than $46.46 per hour.

Geographic location and years of experience impact earnings for radiologic technologists. Those working in medical and diagnostic laboratories tend to earn the highest wages. Rad techs in general medical and surgical hospitals and physicians' offices typically earn average or below average incomes compared to the national wage.

What are the Labor Statistics for Radiologic Technology Professionals?

The job outlook for radiologic technologists is excellent. According to BLS projections, employment for rad techs is expected to grow 9% from 2020-2030, adding around 23,200 new jobs nationally. This is much faster growth than the average for all occupations.

As the baby boomer population ages and requires more medical imaging, there will be steady demand for qualified radiologic technologists. However, geographic location can impact job prospects, with more opportunities in large hospitals and metropolitan areas.

How Does the Income of Radiology Techs Compare to Other Medical Imaging Professionals?

Radiologic technologists have similar average wages compared to other medical imaging professionals like MRI technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers. Here is a comparison of average hourly wages as of May 2021:

  • Radiologic technologists - $32.29/hr
  • MRI technologists - $33.92/hr
  • Diagnostic medical sonographers - $33.77/hr
  • Nuclear medicine technologists - $40.62/hr
  • Radiation therapists - $37.65/hr

While radiology techs have slightly lower average wages, there is significant overlap in the wage ranges for these careers. Geographic location, specialization, years of experience, level of education, and employer are factors that impact wages across medical imaging fields.

Overall, radiologic technologists can earn competitive wages with strong job prospects. With an associate degree and ARRT certification, rad techs can gain the skills needed to begin a rewarding and growing healthcare career.

What are the Various Education Options for Aspiring Rad Techs?

There are a few different paths to becoming a radiologic technologist or "rad tech." The most common options are certificate programs, associate's degree programs, and bachelor's degree programs. The education you need depends on your career goals.

What is the Difference between a Certificate and a Degree Program?

Certificate programs in radiologic technology are usually 1-2 years long and focus specifically on radiography skills and knowledge. They prepare you to sit for ARRT certification exams. Certificate programs allow you to start working sooner than a degree.

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs include more general education and advanced imaging modalities. Degrees take 2-4 years to complete. They provide a foundation for career advancement and specialization. Many employers prefer candidates with degrees over certificates.

Why Might a Radiologic Technician Choose to Pursue a Bachelor's Degree?

There are a few key reasons a radiology tech may want to earn a bachelor's degree:

  • Higher earning potential - Rad techs with bachelor's degrees typically earn higher salaries.
  • Career advancement - A bachelor's degree qualifies technicians for leadership roles like manager, educator, or imaging director.
  • Specialize in modalities like MRI, CT, mammography - Bachelor's programs offer concentrations in advanced techniques.
  • Transition to a new healthcare role - The degree provides a stepping stone to careers like dosimetrist or physician assistant.

Overall, a bachelor's degree offers more long-term career opportunities and room for progression beyond entry-level radiography work.

How does Higher Education Benefit Radiology Technicians in their Career Path?

There are several key benefits of higher education for a radiology technician's career:

  • Prepares technicians for specialized modalities and procedures like MRI, CT, interventional radiography, mammography, bone densitometry, and cardiovascular-interventional radiography. These often require additional certifications.
  • Provides knowledge of radiation physics, imaging science, anatomy, patient care, pathology, pharmacology, and research principles. This improves clinical skills.
  • Develops leadership, management, critical thinking, and communication abilities for supervisory roles.
  • Results in higher pay, more responsibility, and upward mobility into advanced practice, education, or managerial positions.
  • Keeps technicians up to date on the latest medical imaging technologies and clinical practices through continued education.

Overall, higher education expands a radiology technician's expertise, qualifications, earning potential, and career possibilities well beyond entry-level roles.

What Imaging Procedures and Roles are Part of a Rad Tech's Work?

What Medical Imaging Procedures are Typically Performed by Radiology Techs?

Radiologic technologists perform a wide array of diagnostic imaging exams and procedures to help physicians diagnose and treat patients. Common responsibilities include:

  • X-rays - Taking images of bones, joints, organs, cavities, and soft tissues.
  • Fluoroscopy - Using live x-ray imaging to view and guide procedures.
  • CT scans - Creating cross-sectional 3D images through computed tomography.
  • MRIs - Operating magnetic resonance imaging equipment.
  • Mammography - Performing breast cancer screening and diagnostic mammograms.
  • Bone densitometry - Measuring bone mineral density to test for osteoporosis.

Rad techs are also trained to care for patients and provide instructions before and after imaging procedures. With additional training, some radiologic technologists specialize in modalities like sonography, radiation therapy, or nuclear medicine.

What Roles do Radiologic Technologists play in Integrative Care?

Radiologic technologists make important contributions to integrative care teams by:

  • Obtaining high quality diagnostic images to identify conditions, diseases, injuries, or abnormalities.
  • Adjusting protocols based on patient needs and conditions (e.g., pediatric vs geriatric imaging).
  • Explaining procedures, preparing patients, and making them comfortable.
  • Providing ongoing patient assessments before, during, and after imaging exams.
  • Collaborating with radiologists to ensure appropriate tests are ordered.
  • Educating patients about radiation safety and answering their questions.

Their role is essential for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning in integrative care settings.

How do Radiologic Technologists Collaborate with Other Healthcare Professionals?

Radiologic technologists work closely with several key specialists:

  • Radiologists - Interpret medical images created by radiology techs and discuss results.
  • Referring providers - Doctors who order imaging exams to diagnose or monitor patient conditions.
  • Nurses - Help prepare patients for imaging procedures and care for them afterwards.
  • Surgeons - Rely on radiology techs to produce images that guide surgical procedures.
  • Oncologists - Use imaging for cancer screening, diagnosis, staging, and treatment monitoring.

Effective collaboration ensures the right tests are performed and results are used to make the best patient care decisions.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

mobile phone mockup


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

mobile phone mockup


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

View Top Jobs in

Search, apply and be the first in line for your dream job today.

View Top Jobs in

Search, apply and be the first in line for your dream job today.

Apply to Top Jobs in

Search, apply and be the first in line for your dream job today.

mobile phone mockup

Get Started in

Search, apply and be the first in line for your dream job today.

Take Control of Your Career with

Search, apply and be the first in line for your dream job today.