How do I Become a Radiologic Technologist?

M. DePietro

X-rays are used to produce an image of part of the body. They are often ordered by physicians to help determine a diagnosis, such as the presence of a tumor or broken bone. Radiological technologists, which may also be known as x-ray technicians, perform x-rays. Technologists position patients, operate equipment and ensure safety measures are taken.

An X-ray taken by a radiologic technologist.
An X-ray taken by a radiologic technologist.

Throughout the world, requirements to become a radiologic technologist vary considerably. Some counties may provide on the job training, while other country's requirements include a college degree in radiological technology. In the United States, some states require a radiological technologist to obtain a license in the state they wish to work in.

Dental X-ray.
Dental X-ray.

In the US in order to become a radiologic technologist, individuals interested will need to complete an x-ray technology program. The Joint Review Committee in Education in Radiological Technology is the agency which accredits x-ray technology programs in the United States. The organization can provide perspective students with information on various accredited programs across the country. Individual programs should be contacted for admission requirements and tuition costs.

Most programs to become a radiologic technologist are associate'segree programs, which usually take two years to complete. Bachelor' degree programs are also available, which take four years to complete. Programs can be found at hospitals, colleges, universities and private technical schools.

Students will need to complete various science classes including biology, physics and anatomy. Classes specific to radiological technology will also be completed and include imaging techniques, patient positioning and equipment safety. Students will also get hands on experience spending time in hospitals performing various types of x-rays.

Those who plan to become a radiologic technologist and work in a state that requires a license will need to pass an exam administered by the state’s radiological licensing board. Since state requirement vary, check with your school’s program director for individual state information. The American Registry of Radiological Technology also offers a national certification after passing an exam.

Similar to other types of medical careers, many x-ray technicians work in hospitals. Other places of employment include outpatient imaging centers and mobile clinics. Advancement opportunities may include becoming a supervisor of an x-ray department. X-ray technicians who go on to receive additional training can learn how to do computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Salaries vary greatly by location and experience level.

X-ray technicians who work in a state which requires a license will need to renew the license every two years. Technologists certified through the American Registry of Radiology Technology will also have to renew every two years. Continuing education classes will need to be competed for renewal.

A radiologic technologist may operate an MRI machine.
A radiologic technologist may operate an MRI machine.

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Discussion Comments


I live in Bermuda, and I am looking for an x-ray technologist online course and the required prerequisites. can you point me in the right direction?


What high school math and sciences do I need to take to become an xray tech?


i would like to ask some questions about becoming an x-ray technician. i'm finishing an x-ray technician course abroad that takes three years for an associate degree and will totally finish the four year course for a bachelors degree, but i have no license yet, so can you tell me what can i do to become an x-ray technician?

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