Training and Education

Become a Radiology Tech: Training & Education Requirements

One of the many exciting career paths within the world of radiology is that of the radiology technician.

If you are one of those people who are fascinated by the inner workings of the human anatomy, and love to look at how the different parts of the body are interconnected to each other, a career as a radiology tech might be something that could be very interesting to you.

Also, with radiology treatments and imaging technologies continuing to grow at a fast pace, becoming a radiology tech could very well provide you with a stable source of income with much advancement potential.

What Exactly Do They Do?

Radiology technicians work hand in hand with physicians or radiologists in health care facilities.

They are specifically in charge of the actual operation of imaging equipment, carrying out examinations, preparing the patients for the procedure, and then releasing the images and helping to analyze the results with radiologists or physicians.

While many radiologists are also trained in the carrying out of the examinations, in most larger medical facilities it is the responsibility of the radiology technicians to handle this, while radiologists and doctors discuss the findings and suggest treatments with patients.

In Charge of the Testing Process

Radiology technicians would explain to the patient the medical imaging process they are about to undergo, whether it is an X-ray exam, mammography, CAT scan, MRI, or other procedure.

Become a Radiology Tech: Training & Education Requirements

The radiology tech is also responsible for making sure that the patient is prepared to undergo the imaging process, which would mean removing clothing, jewelry, or other personal items that could become an interference to the test and skew results. The technician will also need to make sure that the patient is properly positioned so that the most accurate test results can be achieved.

One of the most important parts of the radiology technician’s job is making sure that all safety precautions are being followed, especially as the equipment being utilized uses various levels of radiation in the imaging techniques, and can become hazardous to people’s health if not handled correctly. Protective coverings such as gowns, lead aprons, etc. are used to protect the patient’s body areas that will not be tested.

Training Required

Because of the sensitive nature of the duties and responsibilities of radiology technicians, they need to be adequately trained and skilled prior to taking on the daily tasks. There are currently several different options that aspiring radiology technicians can choose from:

  • Certificate program. The first option is to take up a certificate program which, on average, takes about one to two years to complete. Many local community colleges, technical or vocational schools, and hospitals offer certificate programs, and these are also offered as online courses.

  • Associate’s Degree. The most common route that radiology technicians take is to finish a two year associate’s degree. Most private and public learning institutions offer at two year associate’s program geared for radiology technicians. Additionally, some larger universities offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Radiologic Technology, which is completed in four years.

Whichever route you choose to take in getting the right education and skills to become a radiology technician, make sure that the institution you select has the proper credentials and accreditation.

Training and Education

Is the Cost of a Radiology Degree Worth It?

It’s a reality that many of us have had to come face-to-face with: the cost of a college education.

Whatever career or profession you are interested in pursuing, the college education and training that comes with it is definitely a major financial investment that you will have to consider, weighing the options and thinking about whether you will get your investment back, and be able to repay the student loans which you will inevitably have to incur as you get your college education.

Medical School Costs More

Is the Cost of a Radiology Degree Worth It?This reality is even more daunting if you are considering a medical profession. Many of the higher-tier medical careers require a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field of study, four years of medical school, at least a year of internship, a few years of resident training, and other field-related training and experience.

On the average, at least ten years of education is the requirement for many health care specializations, and this is the case for aspiring radiologists as well.

Naturally, if you are thinking of pursuing a career in radiology, you would want to know if this is actually something that would be worth your financial investment, as well as the time and effort you will put into the whole endeavor. After all, who wants to labor for so many years and work tirelessly to put oneself through many years of school and training, only to realize in the end that the profession itself is not as rewarding as one thought?

The Payoff

On the average, radiologists today enjoy many benefits and a higher average salary compared to other professionals in the medical industry. In the United States, the average yearly salary of a radiologist is around $216,000. If you are able to go through the many years of education and skills training and eventually become a radiologist, it is a financially lucrative profession.

Also, certain specializations within the field of radiology itself, such as interventional radiology or radiation oncology, command higher salaries because they are more complicated.

Outsourcing: Is There a Negative Effect?

A recent concern among some people interested in radiology careers is the growing outsourcing trend in radiology. Technology has made it possible for hospitals and other medical facilities to outsource films and other tests to other countries, and this is causing concern among locally-employed radiology professionals who fear that their jobs are at stake.

However, it appears that the trend is being spurred because there is actually a growing demand for radiologists and other radiology-related practitioners, and the supply of qualified professionals is not enough to meet the demand.

Different Careers Within Radiology

One thing to remember is that there are different careers within radiology that you can choose. While radiologists have to undergo lengthier and more rigorous training for their practice, other careers in the field such as radiologic technicians and technologists do not require you to have to go through the many years of medical school and resident training.

They are equally as in-demand and with much employment and advancement opportunities for qualified candidates, but without taking as big of an investment of time and effort.

Training and Education

How to Become a Radiologist: Step By Step Guide

Organizing our thoughts and plans into structured lists often helps us to better manage our time and maximize our actions into the most effective strategies.

If at the moment you are considering what career to take, or you are wanting a career change from the one you are involved in right now, perhaps you are considering becoming a radiologist because of the many opportunities that are available in this field.

Before making any final decision, you would want to have a clear layout of expectations in order to prepare your plan of action.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide that you can use as you prepare to become a radiologist, starting from the basics:

Step 1: Select a school for your undergraduate course

How to Become a Radiologist: Step By Step Guide

Before you enter medical school, you will be required to complete an undergraduate course in a related field of study first.

A undergraduate degree in biology, biochemistry, physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, etc. will prepare you for medical school. It is very important that you also choose the right school that will give you the best training possible.

Some universities and colleges now offer a dual program that combines the bachelor’s degree program and the medical degree, and this can help you save a few years of medical schooling and expenses. Try to look for programs that specifically have a pre-med focus as this will be an advantage for you entering into medical school.

Step 2: The MCAT Exam

After getting your bachelor’s degree, your next step will be applying for medical school.

The first hurdle will be taking the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT, where your skills in science, communication, and writing will be assessed. When you apply to medical school, most institutions will look at the results of your MCAT Examination.

Step 3: Medical School

You can choose between two types of medical degrees, the Medical Degree (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).

Your first two years in medical school will be spent mostly in classroom study and laboratory work, as well as clinics and research programs. You will learn the intricacies of neurology, immunology, emergency care, patient care, epidemiology, and other areas of study.

During your third and fourth years in medical school, you will have the chance to perform supervised contact with patients in hospital and outpatient settings.

Step 4: Residency

After medical school, you will have to complete at least four years of radiology residency. An additional year (minimum) of residency in the subspecialty of radiology you selected will also have to be completed. Many large teaching hospitals and health care institutions offer residency programs for the different specializations of radiology. During this time, you will also be paid while undergoing your residency.

Step 5: Board Certification

In the United States, you are required to have state licensure to be able to practice medicine. Additional radiology certification is obtained through the American Board of Radiologists.

If you choose to become an osteopathic doctor, certification is through the American Osteopathic College of Radiology.

Training and Education

Radiology Certification: What is Initial Certification?

Medical practitioners and health care professionals are involved in very sensitive, often life-and-death situations and decisions in the diagnosis, analysis, and treatment of various medical conditions and diseases of patients.

As such, they are expected to undergo very rigorous and detailed training, have substantial knowledge and contextual understanding of the field of study they are in.

As a way to maintain the standards of professionalism and expertise within its ranks, the medical community utilizes various forms of licensing and certification for practitioners.

In radiology, there are also different levels and steps in the certification of a radiologist, and the process begins with initial certification before the aspiring radiologist officially gets credentials for specific subcategories within radiology.

What is Initial Certification?

As defined by the American Board of Radiology, initial certification is:

“For candidates who are not yet certified in diagnostic radiology, any of its subspecialties (neuroradiology, nuclear radiology, pediatric radiology, and vascular and interventional radiology), radiation oncology, or medical physics.”

Meanwhile, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists requires candidates who are seeking initial certification, or otherwise known as primary pathway certification, to have met certain requirements in basic education, ethics, and examinations.

The ARRT requirements include:

  • Candidates pursuing primary pathway certification in Radiography, Nuclear Medicine Technology, Radiation Therapy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or Sonography must have — within the past five years — successfully completed an educational program that is accredited by a mechanism acceptable to the ARRT.

  • Candidates must also demonstrate competency in didactic coursework and an ARRT-specified list of clinical procedures by completing competency requirements established for the discipline in which they are seeking certification.

If you are in the Ultrasound or Nuclear Medicine fields within Radiology, it is important to note that there are separate certification guidelines and requirements within these two areas.

For those in the Sonography field, the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography or ARDMS is the organization that provides credentials, administers examinations, and enforces standards. Only two states require ARDMS certification for ultrasound practitioners, but it is still recommended and is an advantage for those who have it.

For Nuclear Medicine Technologists, meanwhile, the overseeing organization is the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board. The NMTCB administers exams and issues specialty certifications for those in the nuclear medicine branch of radiology.

Why Initial Certification Important?

According to the ARRT itself, “employers, state licensing agencies, and federal regulators look at the ARRT credential as an indication that a person has met a recognized national standard for medical imaging, interventional procedures, and radiation therapy professionals.”

If you have initial certification, it will be a great foundation for you as you continue getting training for your specialization. It is also something that prospective employers would look for and want you to have, as it gives them the peace of mind that you are truly qualified and you have met the basic requirements in order to handle the responsibilities associated with your work. Also, many patients look for certification in their health care providers and medical professionals.

Training and Education

Radiology Training Exams

Examinations are part and parcel of any training program and curriculum regardless of what industry or field of study you will undertake.

Examinations are a means of testing your knowledge and understanding of the subject material, and assessing if you were able to successfully absorb concepts, procedures, and important information which will be absolutely critical to how you carry out your duties in your chosen profession.

Exams gauge your knowledge

Radiology Training - How to Become A Radiologist

In the medical industry, written examinations are also part of the training process.

While much of the training in the medical sciences revolves around actual application of stock knowledge, diagnostic tests and assessments are still a must for aspiring health care professionals.

They are a gauge of how much they have retained in their memory, something that would indeed be important especially considering how sensitive the nature of their job is.

Who Administers Radiology Exams?

Radiology training exams are prepared and administered by different certifying organizations and authorities within this branch of medical science. In particular, the American College of Radiology (ACR) administers two specific radiology in-training exams every year, namely the Diagnostic Radiology In-Training exam (DXIT) and the Radiation Oncology In-Training exam (TXIT).


The DXIT is a computer-based examination which is given out every January in the United States, with an exam window for Canada and International within the same month as well. This is a voluntary exam for radiology residents-in-training measuring their general achievement. The results are used to assess their progress, and also to gauge the residency program.


The TXIT, meanwhile, is more specific to the subcategory of radiation oncology and is usually administered in March.


A more rigorous examination that measures competency specifically in the area of cardiac imagery is the Cardiac CT Certificate of Advanced Proficiency (CoAP) Examination, also administered by the ACR. The exam’s format is entirely computer-based, combining both a knowledge-based multiple choice questionnaire format and practical, cardiac CT case assessments.

ABR-Administered Exams

The American Board of Radiology (ABR) also administers several examinations as part of the radiology residency training, namely, the Core Exam (taken 36 months after starting radiology residency) and the Certifying Exam (after diagnostic radiology residency is finished).

Both exams cover general aspects of diagnostic radiology. The Core Exam, in addition, includes a portion of the RadioIsotope Safety Exam (RISE).

The Certifying Exam, meanwhile, emphasizes on synthesis of information, differential diagnosis, and patient management, with three modules dealing specifically with clinical practice areas preselected by the individual. The Certifiying Exam also includes the second portion of the RISE.