How to Become a Radiology Technician without the University Price Tag

how to become radiology technician without university price low cost career radiologist

The radiology technician industry has experienced a growth of nine percent since 2014. This rate is faster than the average growth of all professionals.

If you want to get in on this exciting career path, keep reading to learn how you can get your online radiology technician degree.


How to Become a Radiology Technician 

You should know that no two radiologic technologists follow the same path. Some technologist might go to a two year accredited radiologic technologist program, while others will have a bachelor's degree and other educational steps. 

Here's what you need to do to become certified as an x-ray machine operator.


Graduate From Highschool 

You will need to be a high school graduate to be a radiologic technologist. If you know as young as high school that you want to do this, you'll want to bulk up on science and mathematics courses. You also might want to consider working or volunteering in a healthcare setting so you can have an idea what this job entails early on. 

But remember, you can always get your GED if you were never able to graduate from highschool. 


Do an Accredited Undergraduate Radiologic Technology Program

This program is usually two to four years and can be done online like on this website. Radiologic technologists will need either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in order to get  ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) certification.

Since January 1st, 2015, all applicants that want an ARRT certificate in Radiography, Radiation Therapy, Sonography, Nuclear Medicine Technology, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging need to have graduated from a school recognized by the ARRT, which you can find here.

Having a Bachelor's Degree over an Associate's Degree won't make you more qualified to be certified. However, a Bachelor's Degree might help in furthering your education and or finding job opportunities.


Online Radiologic Technologist Education 

There are several accredited radiology technology schools offer online associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. You should know that you will have to eventually report in person for your supervised radiologic technologist training.

Know that even if you get an online associate’s radiologic technology degree, actually becoming a radiologic technologist isn't easy. You will have to learn about body imaging techniques,  complete high-level science courses, and practice the proper patient body positions that you need to safely scan body parts. 

Generally, a radiologic technologist program will include core subjects of chemistry, mathematics, biology, anatomy, radiology theory, patient safety, and positioning.

There are three different education paths you can take, A 20 to 24-month certificate program, a four-year bachelor's degree and or a two-year associate degree. Most programs now also require you to complete medical office and coding courses. 

No matter which path you take, you need to make sure that the program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). This is a national organization that deals with accreditation of radiological technological training programs.

You can verify your program's accreditation by going on the JRCERT or American Registry of Radiologic Technologist (ARRT)websites. This will help you not waste time and resources on programs that are not accredited.


Get Certified and Registered with ARRT 

Once you completed the proper education, you will want to get apply to get registered and certified with ARRT. Know that this timeline can vary. Radiologic technologists don't have any national licensing requirements, but these requirements can vary state by state. 

If you want to increase your employability and establish your expertise, then you'll want to pursue certification with ARRT. During this process, you will have to submit proof of your acceptable academic record, submit and fill out an ethics pre-application, and you will have to pass an exam.

This exam will access your cognitive skills and knowledge for the tasks staff technologists practice in entry-level jobs. For an entry-level position, you need a Radiography certificate from ARRT.

Once you've worked for a while, then radiologic technologists might want to get an ARRT specialty certification, like Bone Densitometry, Mammography, or Cardiac-Interventional Radiography.


Maintain Your ARRT Certificate 

Once you have your ARRT certificate, you'll want to maintain it. Technologies have to renew their certifications every year. This requires you to comply with ARRT regulations and standards of ethics. You also need to complete the required amount of continuing education hours.

If you are a renewing technologist, you need to earn 24 credit hours every year to stay current with your certification, or you need ARRT certifications in other specialties.


Prepare for the Job

Radiologic technologists usually work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and or medical and diagnostic laboratories. A prospective radiologic technologist might shadow an experienced radiologic technologist to learn more about the field.  You still need a formal education to get a license or certification.

The training for radiology programs is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. You may get an associate's, bachelor's degree or certificate from these programs. Most Radiologic technologists have associate's degrees. 


Choose a Specialty

You can specialize in various fields like computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), musculoskeletal, medical sonography, mammography, cellular imaging, neuroradiology, and medical imaging. Any specialization you want will need more training and another ARRT certificate. 


Continue Learning 

As mentioned earlier, radiologic technologists have to be certified by the ARRT.  And once your education is done, and you have your ARRT certification, you still need to be learning. 

Just like other professional jobs, you need to continue your education to keep your ARRT certification. You need 24 credit hours over a reporting period, no matter what type of ARRT certifications you have. 


Radiologic Technologist Salary

Also just so you know, a  radiologic technologist career can be an excellent source of income, especially since you only need a two-year associate’s degree and certification to become a radiologic technologist. 

It was reported that the average pay for radiologic technologists in 2014 was over $57,000, which breaks down to $27.50 an hour. This compensation is fair when you consider this job doesn't require a bachelor’s degree.

Radiologic technologists will start out closer to $37,600 and can make up to $80,000 if you're in the top ten percent of radiologic technologists in the country.


Become Radiologic Technologist Today

Now that you know what goes into becoming a radiology technician, what's stopping you? You can get your associate's degree online. Before you know it, you'll be a radiology technician. 

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