How to Become an X-Ray Technologist


There are so many great careers in radiology, such as an X-ray technologist. It’s also known as a radiologic technician, and it’s someone who uses specialized tech to take images of inside the body.

In the industry, an X-ray technician is a highly specialized profession. Whereas a radiologic technologist is somebody who engages a broader set of duties. Neither is better than the other, but it’s entirely down to the preferences of the individual and their career interests.

In this article, we will cover how you can become an X-ray technician. It’s not an easy path but it’s well worth it if you’re interested in helping others. 

If you’d like to become an X-ray technologist or simply learn more about it, keep reading.

What Is a Certified X-Ray Technologist?

As mentioned earlier, a certified X-ray technologist is somebody who makes use of special equipment to take scans of inside the body. Even though that’s the majority of their job, there are many other things that they need to know and perform.

For instance, having a full comprehension of radiologic danger is one of them. One thing to keep in mind is that X-ray technologists often have a sporadic schedule, as they tend to work weekends and nights. 

They serve an important role, so it’s their job to help individuals in the times of their deepest need.

Here are some other duties they will have:

  1. Keep patients relaxed
  2. Comprehend safety standards
  3. Maintain X-ray beams
  4. Adjust X-ray machinery
  5. Use patient-shielding to protect individuals
  6. Acquire clear images of the bones and other parts of the body
  7. Receive instructions from other doctors
  8. Assist in the entire course of the procedure

There are many other things that X-ray technologists do, but hopefully, these are enough to provide you with a general sense of understanding. Depending on where the technologist is working, their duties might be entirely different from the ones outlined above.

Let’s take a look at the process behind becoming an X-ray technologist.

Acquire Postsecondary Education

Those who seek to become certified and specialized in this field will need to attend postsecondary education. However, it should also be accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists or the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. 

X-ray technologist programs can be acquired at the associate, certificate, and bachelor level of education. On all levels, the coursework will consist of laboratory and classroom attendance. It covers medical terminology, radiation protection, anatomy, infection control, patient positions, and radiation analysis.

If possible, maximize the amount of hands-on experience you acquire during the program. Some institutions can provide externships at imagining centers and hospitals, which is a great way to learn ‘on the job’.

Become Certified

After completing the program, a graduate can pursue certification. This will provide them with a Registered Technologist certificate. Even though this process is not necessary for employment, many employers will hire only individuals who are certified.

Some states require certification before one can become licensed. To get certified, a person must meet certain criteria. First, they must have graduated from an accredited program. They also have to pass a written exam.

This test consists of 220 multiple-choice questions and takes 4 hours. It is scored on a fail or pass basis.

There is also bi-annual recertification necessary. ARRT requires certified individuals to complete 24 continued education points or instead pass a new exam bi-annually. This requirement ensures that individuals are educated on the latest developments and that they show commitment to the profession.

Get Licensed

Only some states require you to have a license to become certified. These states are:

  1. Colorado
  2. Michigan
  3. Nevada
  4. Arizona
  5. California

Depending on where you plan on working, licensure can take up to 4 years. All states that require licensure will accept your ARRT certification for licensure.

If you live in a state that requires licensure, you can work in another state that does not. If you live in a state that does not, you will have to get licensed to work in any of the above-mentioned states. 

The ARRT provides exams in the following specializations:

  1. Radiation therapy
  2. Radiology
  3. Fluoroscopy
  4. Bone densitometry
  5. Nuclear medicine
  6. Post-primary disciplines

That’s not an exhaustive list, and you can consult their website for additional information. You can learn about the Xray licence here.

Get Work

As a certified technologist, you can work in clinics, imaging centers, hospitals, and rehabs. It’s also possible to be a remote worker, where you attend various facilities over the course of the week. Most technologists work a standard 40 hours each week.

This career allows you to get lots of overtime, especially when working at a hospital. X-ray technologists are needed in ERs, hospitals, and other areas of the facility. If you are looking to find work as one, check your local medical centers.

Consider Advancements

Experienced technologists can obtain more certifications from the ARRT to specialize in diagnostic equipment or become a radiologist abstain. A technician can advance their career by becoming a sales rep, teaching at a college, or getting promoted in their department.

You might want to consider additional education to extend your career. Some facilities require the individual to have a master’s degree in health care before applying for the position of a department director.

Radiology Awaits You

Now that you know how to become an X-ray technologist, you are well on your way to fill this greatly needed market and help people get back to optimal health. As long as you put in the work and time to become certified, plentiful work awaits you.

If you’re interested in similar articles, feel free to check out the rest of our ‘careers’ section.