X-Ray Technician programs can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 4 years to complete. It all depends on the level of education you wish to obtain.
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Decide if Becoming an X-Ray Technician is Right for You
Becoming an X-Ray Technician is a process that takes time, dedication, and hard work. If you’re thinking about becoming an X-Ray Technician, you need to make sure that it’s the right decision for you. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about becoming an X-Ray Technician so that you can make an informed decision.
Weigh the pros and cons of the job
If you’re considering a career in radiologic technology, you may be wondering, “How long does it take to become an X-ray technician?”
The simple answer is that it depends. Radiologic technologists can choose from several credentialing options, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
The most common credential is the Registered Technologist (RT) credential, which can be earned through a two-year Associate’s degree program or a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Some technologists opt for the one-year certificate program, which can lead to faster entry into the workforce but may limit job opportunities and earning potential down the road.
There is no “right” answer when it comes to deciding how to become an X-ray technician. The best way to decide is to weigh the pros and cons of each option and make the best decision for your individual needs and goals.
Get the Necessary Education and Training
The length of time it takes to become an X-ray Technician depends on the level of education you pursue. There are certificate, diploma, and degree programs available. The shortest path to becoming an X-ray Technician is through a certificate program, which can be completed in as little as 12 months.
Earn an Associate’s degree in radiologic technology
It typically takes two years to earn an associate’s degree in radiologic technology. During your studies, you’ll take classes such as medical ethics, human anatomy, and physiology. You’ll also receive supervised training in diagnostic imaging. Once you’ve completed your degree, you’ll need to pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam to earn your certification and become licensed in most states.
Complete a radiographer program accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
Radiographer programs accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) typically take 24 months to complete. If you are already a Registered Radiologic Technologist (RT(R)), you may be able to complete a shorter, non-accredited program. Once you have completed an accredited or non-accredited radiographer program, you will need to pass a national certification exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
Become licensed or certified in your state
To become an X-ray technician, you will need to attend an accredited school and complete a training program. Once you have completed the program, you will need to become licensed or certified in your state. The length of time it takes to complete the education and training requirements varies by state, but most states require 1-2 years of training.
Start Working and Gaining Experience
X-Ray Technician school can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, but that’s not the only factor in how long it will take you to become an X-Ray Technician. In addition to completing an accredited training program, you will also need to obtain certification and licensure. Once you have all of that, you can start working and gaining experience. The bottom line is that it can take a while to become an X-Ray Technician, but it is definitely a achievable goal.
Get a job as a radiologic technologist
Once you have completed an accredited program and received your certification, you are now eligible to seek employment as a radiologic technologist. Many hospitals and imaging centers require technologists to have at least one year of experience before they will be considered for positions, so it is a good idea to start working and gaining experience as soon as possible. You may need to start out in a entry-level position and work your way up, but with dedication and hard work, you can achieve your goal of becoming an X-ray technician.
Consider pursuing a specialty
While you might be able to find a job as a general radiology technician, you’ll likely earn a higher salary if you pursue a specialty. For example, if you have experience working with computed tomography (CT) scanners, you could become a CT technologist. Or, if you’re interested in working with pregnant women and children, you could specialize in sonography. You might even pursue a career in nuclear medicine, which involves using radioactive materials to diagnose and treat certain medical conditions.
Keep in mind that each of these specialties requires additional training and certification. However, the effort will be well worth it when you land your dream job with a higher salary.
Advance your career with additional training and certifications
While you may be able to find entry-level positions with only an associate degree, many employers prefer or require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value experience, so completing an internship or externship while you are in school can give you an advantage when you are applying for jobs.
Some employers may require certification or licensure in addition to educational requirements. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers certification in radiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine technology. Certification by the ARRT requires passing an exam and meeting continuing education requirements. Many states also regulate the practice of radiologic technology and licensure may be required.