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Attend radiology school. Become a radiologic tech.

The radiologic technology and medical imaging field includes the disciplines (also known as modalities) of radiography (x-rays and related technologies), sonography (ultrasounds), computerized tomography (CT or CAT scans), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine technology, and radiation therapy, as well as various subdisciplines such as bone densitometry and mammography. People who work in these disciplines are broadly referred to as radiologic technologists (RTs), though there are specific job titles in each discipline, such as “sonographer” for ultrasound professionals. The education required to become a radiologic technologist is typically an associate’s degree, though there are certificate and bachelor’s programs available.

To help you research education opportunities and prepare for your career, Radiology Schools 411 features information on top radiologic technology schools (commonly referred to by those just learning about this field as “radiology schools,” “radiology technology schools,” or “x-ray tech schools”). We also provide comprehensive resources to help you research degrees, careers, and jobs in the rapidly growing field of medical imaging and radiologic technology.

Table of Contents

Radiologic Technology School Facts

  • There are 672 colleges and universities that offer a radiologic technology program.1
  • 250 colleges and universities offer a certificate in radiologic technology.1
  • 514 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in radiologic technology.1
  • 161 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology.1
  • 36 colleges and universities offer an advanced degree in radiologic technology.1
  • Over 700 programs are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).2

For not-for-profit colleges and universities.

What Is Radiologic Technology?

Radiologic technology, sometimes searched for as “radiology technology,” is an area of medicine that uses radiant energy, such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound, to provide diagnostic images of a patient’s body under the supervision of a medical doctor with a specialty in radiology (a radiologist). Radiologic technology also includes the use of these technologies to treat diseases, such as using proton therapy to treat certain cancers. Radiologic technology is, therefore, inclusive of all technologies designed to take medical images of the body.

The differences between radiologic technology, radiology, and the different modalities can be confusing, especially to those who are just learning about these fields. The many synonyms, and their occasional misuses, can add to the challenge. To help you navigate, below we have listed several terms related to radiologic technology, their meanings, and commonly misused terms.

  • Radiology: Radiology is the discipline of medicine that uses radiation for diagnoses or intervention. Radiology is a specialty in medicine at the graduate level (MD or PhD); those searching for “radiology technician schools” usually mean radiologic technology schools.
  • Radiologist: A radiologist is a medical doctor (MD) who determines which images are to be produced by a radiologic technologist, uses these to diagnose an issue, and determines the treatment plan. Radiologist schools can be used to mean the medical schools that radiologists attend prior to completing the medical residency required to become a board-certified MD.
  • Radiologist assistant (RA): “Radiologist assistant” is a specialty in radiologic technology that requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Those who certify in this area have a greater scope of practice and are able–under the supervision of an MD–to perform certain procedures and administer medications that RTs cannot.
  • Radiography: Radiography is the practice of taking images using radiation. Formally, radiography includes x-ray, gamma ray, and other technologies, but the term is sometimes used as shorthand for x-ray. The context for the use of radiography is therefore critical. As a program, radiography usually equips future technologists to use x-ray and fluoroscopy (essentially, continuous x-ray).
  • Radiographer: A radiographer is a person who uses radiologic technology to produce medical images. “Radiographer” is generally synonymous with radiologic technologist and medical imaging technologist.
  • Radiologic technician: Radiologic technician, sometimes searched for as “radiology technician,” is a variation on radiologic technologist, and in both cases is frequently shortened to radiologic tech or RT. “Radiologic technician” is gradually fading out in favor of the term radiologic technologist, which many feel better encompasses the knowledge required to work in this field. Some RTs reserve the term “technician” to refer to someone who works on medical imaging equipment in a support role, though this has not caught on as a general rule of usage.
  • Ultrasound technician: An ultrasound technician is an individual certified to use sonography to produce medical images. Ultrasound technicians are also known as sonographers. “Ultrasound technician schools” is commonly used to mean “diagnostic medical sonography schools.” At the same time, most, if not all, schools offering programs in ultrasound offer programs in multiple other radiologic technologies.
  • X-ray technician: An x-ray technician is qualified to use x-rays to produce medical images. Excluding ultrasound and sonography programs, most associate degree radiologic technology programs include preparation for using x-ray in the course of study. There are also limited x-ray technician (aka limited medical radiography) programs that, in states where it is permitted, prepare graduates to use only x-ray technology on limited areas of the body.
Key Takeaway: “Radiology” is not a true synonym for “radiologic technology.” Radiologic technology is a segment of the field of radiology, and radiology can also mean a specialty in medicine at the graduate level. People looking for “radiology schools” are usually interested in associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in radiologic technology that support careers as radiologic technologists, ultrasound technicians, or x-ray technicians.

Radiologic Technology Programs and Certification

The types of radiologic technology that technologists can use depend on their education and training. Typically, a radiologic tech will complete an associate’s degree in the type of radiologic technology they wish to practice (though this varies based on the modality and previous educational attainment), pass the required exam(s) for their state, and apply for a license to practice. RTs who later wish to add a discipline or modality can typically do so by completing additional education and passing the exam(s) for the new modality.

In addition to completing an appropriate educational program, prospective RTs must pass licensing exams for their desired discipline(s). Some states use their own exams, while others use the credentialing exams and education guidelines for the major RT disciplines developed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). The ARRT also offers a different set of exams that allow RTs to earn voluntary professional credentials. Though voluntary certification alone will not always meet state licensing requirements, some states do consider ARRT credentials as part of the licensing process.

There are five areas that are generally recognized as “primary pathways” to certification for radiologic technologists (note, however, that some states may have more or fewer pathways). A primary pathway is the specific education and testing that an RT completes to earn initial licensure or certification. The major modalities are listed below, in order of the number of programs leading to certification via a primary pathway.


Radiography programs (which are frequently synonymous with “radiologic technology programs,” even though the programs discussed below are also radiologic technology programs) prepare graduates to use core radiologic technologies such as x-ray and fluoroscopy and become licensed or certified as radiologic technologists or radiographers. Radiography programs are typically found as associate’s degrees, although bachelor’s degrees and certificate programs are also common. There are 412 colleges and universities that offer programs in radiologic technology and radiography.1

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy programs, sometimes called radiotherapy programs, are focused degree programs that prepare graduates to become radiation therapists, using high doses of radiation as a cancer treatment (typically using an external beam of energy, as in x-ray or proton therapy). Radiation therapy programs are commonly found as bachelor’s degree programs as well as one- to two-year certificate programs for those who already have an associate’s degree in radiologic technology. There are 281 colleges and universities that offer programs in medical radiologic technology and radiation therapy.1


Medical sonography programs, also known as diagnostic medical sonography programs (and colloquially, as “ultrasound schools”) lead to ultrasound technician or sonographer careers. Students in these programs learn how to use ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) to produce images of internal body structures. Medical sonography programs are most commonly found as associate’s degrees, although there are some bachelor’s degree programs in sonography. It is also possible to earn a certificate in a specialty in this field, typically after completing an associate’s degree or higher in sonography. There are 220 colleges and universities with programs in diagnostic medical sonography/ultrasound.1

Nuclear Medicine Technology

Nuclear medicine technology (NMT) is the discipline of radiologic technology that uses radiopharmaceutical-based diagnosis and treatment. A degree in nuclear medicine technology prepares the graduate to become licensed as a nuclear medicine technologist (NMT) who uses radiopharmaceuticals–small amounts of radioactive materials introduced into the body–to produce medical images using technologies like gamma cameras and CT/CAT scans. Nuclear medicine technology programs are usually found at the undergraduate level, with bachelor’s degrees being the most common. There are 94 colleges and universities offering programs in NMT.1

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) programs, sometimes searched for as “MRI technologist schools,” are designed to lead to certification in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). As a technology, MRI uses the interactions of strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of organ tissues and other internal structures. MRI programs can be found as focused associate’s degrees as well as post-degree undergraduate certificates for those who already have a degree in another radiologic technology. There are 46 colleges and universities with programs in MRI.1

Limited X-Ray

Limited x-ray technician programs, also known as limited medical radiography programs or x-ray tech programs, are certificate programs designed to lead to limited scope x-ray technician licensure. This limited scope is not recognized in all states, but in states where it is recognized, it allows the technician to use basic x-ray imaging to produce internal images from select areas of the body. Limited x-ray technology programs are most commonly undergraduate certificates that take a year to complete.

Other Radiologic Technology Programs

In addition to the five primary pathways, there are secondary or limited pathways that may be an option for some students. There are various radiologic technologies that are either included in one of the major degree areas discussed above or commonly pursued as an add-on certification via a certificate program. Such add-on certifications are commonly known as “postprimary pathways.” Technologies that fit into one or both of these categories include:

  • Bone densitometry
  • Breast sonography
  • Cardiac interventional radiology
  • Computed tomography (CAT/CT scans)
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
  • Mammography
  • Positron emission tomography (PET scan)
  • Radiologist assistant
  • Vascular interventional radiography
  • Vascular sonography
Key Takeaway: The type(s) of radiologic technology you can qualify to use are dependent on your education. While education and licensing requirements vary from state to state, the common primary and postprimary pathways for voluntary certification (which are commonly, though not always, used as a basis for licensure) are detailed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Always check with your state’s board for exact licensing and certification requirements.

Radiology and Sonography Programs Online

Radiologic technology uses potentially dangerous technologies in a controlled manner to produce beneficial results. Because x-rays and other technologies based on radioactive materials can be harmful if used improperly, hands-on learning is critical for prospective radiologic technologists. As a result, while you may be able to find hybrid or partially-online radiologic technology programs, you should plan to attend courses in-person for at least part of your program.

That being understood, there are some online radiologic technology programs and online sonography programs that are designed to help those who have an associate’s degree in their field earn a bachelor’s degree in their field. These programs do not often include additional certifications in new modalities (which would generally require at least some hands-on work), but they can be a great way to build the skills and knowledge needed to move into advanced RT careers in supervision and management.

Radiology Technologist School Information by State

We have researched radiologic technologist schools by state that offer programs in the various areas of radiologic technology and science. In addition, we have featured some of those programs with program summaries and have also included information on whether programs are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT, for the areas of radiography, radiation therapy, and magnetic resonance), the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP, for sonography), and the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT, for nuclear medicine technology). You can read more about the different accreditations and what they mean on our radiologic technology degree guide.

Best Value Radiologic Technology Schools with On-Campus Programs

We researched all schools in the US with on-campus associate’s degrees in radiologic technology to compile our best values table below. In creating our list, we only considered schools with a combination of a high graduation rate (60% or higher) and a low net price (less than $22,000 per year). A high graduation rate at a college or university is a traditional marker of student success and affordability is important when making such a long-term investment. In the table below, we have included these as well as other quality markers, including JRCERT accreditation status, retention rate, transfer-out rate, and student loan default rate.

School2- or 4-Year SchoolJRCERT Accred.?Grad Rate1Retention Rate*1Transfer Out Rate**1Student Loan Default Rate1Net Price1
State Technical College of Missouri2-year (public)Yes71%85%2%8.8%$8,071
Northwest Iowa Community College2-year (public)Yes65%78%8%10.7%$10,278
Mitchell Technical Institute2-year (public)Yes68%81%6%10%$10,885
Ball State University4-year (public)Yes62%78%26%4.7%$13,535
Maine College of Health Professions4-year (private)Yes100%83%N.Av.2.5%$16,795
Cleveland University-Kansas City4-year (private)No100%50%N.Av.2.6%$16,883
Johnson College2-year (private)Yes64%68%N.Av.12.6%$17,442
Dunwoody College of Technology4-year (private)Yes64%82%1%11.0%$19,132
St. Luke’s College4-year (private)Yes100%N.Av.N.Av.6.2%$20,290
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health4-year (private)Yes70%77%13%1.7%$20,836
Clarkson College4-year (private)Yes74%77%N.Av.3.7%$21,655
Gannon University4-year (private)Yes68%85%20%4.9%$21,793

See Table Notes and References at bottom of page.

Radiology School Profiles

Arkansas State University logo

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University’s (A State) Department of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science (BSRS) that is structured to produce clinically competent, advanced-level radiologic technicians. Students in this program benefit from a technologically diverse education that teaches a range of imaging modalities and patient services. Concentrations offered in the BSRS include Cardiovascular-Interventional Technology (CVIT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Computed Tomography (MRI/CT), Mammography/Breast Sonography, Radiation Therapy, and Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Graduates have found work in clinical settings as well as nontraditional roles, including as technical advisors to hospitals and clinics and sales representatives for diagnostic imaging equipment.

Austin Peay State University logo

Austin Peay State University

The Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology (BSRT) program at Austin Peay State University (APSU) prepares graduates to produce quality radiographic images to accurately diagnose injury and disease. Students can concentrate in one of three modalities: Radiography, Nuclear Medicine, or General Radiologic Science. The General Radiologic Science is for students who already have an associate degree who are interested in earning a bachelor’s degree. All programs are based on a core of academic theory, classroom learning, clinical experience, lab testing, and competency testing in realistic clinical settings. The BSRT is designed to be completed in four years of full-time study.

Boise State University logo

Boise State University

Boise State University (Boise State) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Imaging Sciences associate-to-bachelor’s degree completion program that is offered entirely online. The curriculum is designed to help credentialed professionals prepare for roles in leadership and management as well as careers in instructional settings. The program, which requires 33 credit hours beyond the associate degree, includes courses such as Health Informatics in Imaging Sciences, Research Methods in Imaging Sciences, and Sectional Anatomy in Imaging Sciences. Students may take classes on a full- or part-time basis. For admissions consideration, applicants must hold an associate degree in medical imaging with a minimum GPA of 2.7 as well as a current ARRT credential or its equivalent.

California State University Northridge logo

California State University, Northridge

The Department of Health Sciences at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) offers a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences (BSRS). Radiologic tech graduates receive instruction in general as well as specialized imaging such as Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Cardiovascular Imaging, creating opportunities for career growth. Two tracks are offered, one for credentialed RTs and one for students who don’t have a radiologic technology background. The BSRS at CSUN is accredited by JRCERT.

Emory University logo

Emory University

The Emory University (Emory) School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences offers an RT to Bachelor of Medical Science (RT-BMSc) in Medical Imaging that prepares graduates to perform x-rays and use other technologies to diagnose and treat patients. Courses include Anatomy & Physiology, Medical Imaging Procedures, Computer Applications in Medical Imaging, Medical Imaging Seminar, and Clinical Practicum. The program, with coursework online and in a hybrid format, is specifically aimed at working professionals who have already completed an associate degree in radiography.

Idaho State University logo

Idaho State University

The JRCERT-accredited Bachelor of Science (BS) in Radiographic Science program at Idaho State University (ISU) teaches students the technical and academic foundations required to conduct radiologic imaging procedures safely and competently. Graduates are qualified, skilled imaging technologists who ethically respond to the individual needs of their patients with competence and compassion, and who are technically equipped to become a professional member of any medical imaging team. After graduation, candidates are eligible to take the national certification exam in radiography administered by the ARRT. ISU also offers a certificate program in diagnostic medical sonography.

LIU Post logo

Long Island University-Post

As a leader in diagnostic imaging education, Long Island University (LIU) Post offers a four-year rad tech program that is accredited by the JRCERT. LIU Post’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Medical Imaging-Radiologic Technology addresses the growing demand for professionals to perform diagnostic tests for a range of injuries and illnesses like cancer, osteoporosis, concussion, and more. Students learn to conduct MRI scans, CT scans, and mammograms, providing 2D and 3D images of soft tissues, organs, and the skeletal system.

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences logo

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Radiography that can be completed in 32 months on an accelerated track or 20 months on a fast track. The school’s state-of-the-art radiography laboratory allows students to learn medical imaging on equipment that is comparable to that used in modern healthcare facilities. Students work in clinical placements throughout the Boston area and upon graduation are eligible to sit for the ARRT certification exam. The program is accredited by the JRCERT. MCPHS also offers advanced certificates in computed tomography (CT), a BS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and a BS in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, among other programs.

Morehead State University logo

Morehead State University

Morehead State University’s (MSU) Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Radiologic Science can be earned in as few as three years. Students complete clinical placements at two different health care agencies as part of the curriculum, gaining hands-on real-world experience. Graduates are prepared to pursue further education in in-demand modalities including computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and radiation therapy. Program graduates are also prepared to sit for the ARRT certification exam in radiography. MSU also offers an online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Leadership in Medical Imaging that prepares students for management roles as well as a BS in CT/MRI and a BS in Diagnostic Medical Imaging.

Newman University logo

Newman University

The Newman University (Newman U) Associate of Science (AS) in Health Science-Radiologic Technology program prepares students to provide patient care and capture high-quality radiographic images. A concentration in Computed Tomography (CT) is offered as an add-on to the AS program. The 59-credit hour program requires 22 months (five semesters) of full-time study and includes five clinical rotations, equipping students with hands-on experience under close supervision.

Oakland University logo

Oakland University

Oakland University offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences-Radiologic Technology program that prepares students for clinical imaging careers. Students learn the principles and science behind the safe administration of ionizing radiation for diagnostics, patient care, and research purposes, as well as how to integrate and use advanced radiographic techniques. The program includes six semester-length clinical rotations to build students’ skills in clinical practice. The school also offers a nuclear medicine technologist program, the BS in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences with a specialization in Nuclear Medicine Technology, as well as a BS in Clinical and Diagnostic Science with a specialization in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Rush University logo

Rush University

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Imaging Sciences at Rush University (RUSH) follows a hybrid model incorporating online and on-campus study. Students with an associate degree in medical imaging as well as students who are new to the field are considered for admission. The curriculum is customizable and includes 1,000 clock hours of clinical experience. Students with medical imaging experience can train in Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or Cardiac Interventional or (CVIT) Vascular-Interventional Imaging. Students who are not licensed in a radiologic modality complete the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) track. All courses are led by practitioners who have significant experience in their field. RUSH offers competitive scholarship opportunities, up to a full tuition waiver for the highly selective Diversity Leadership Scholarship.

University of Hartford logo

University of Hartford

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Radiologic Technology program at the University of Hartford (Hartford) is accredited by the JRCERT. Clinical rotations at affiliate institutions provide students with hands-on, practical experience under the supervision of practicing professionals in the medical imaging field. During their fourth year in the program, students may choose to specialize in either Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Graduates are prepared as leaders in healthcare through training in communication, education, management, computer science, and advanced science and medicine. Imaging technologists who are currently credentialed by the ARRT may be eligible for a stand-alone MRI certificate program and/or CT certificate program.

University of Iowa logo

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa’s (UI) Carver College of Medicine offers three on-campus pathways to earn a bachelor’s degree in the field of medical imaging. Students can choose from a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (concentrating in General and Vascular or Cardiac and Vascular), a BS in Radiation Therapy, or a BS in Radiologic Technology (BSRT) with a concentration in Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Cardiovascular Interventional (CVIT), or Breast Imaging. Designed to prepare students through intellectual, professional, and social learning opportunities, the UI radiation sciences program offers opportunities to work alongside faculty members and instructors. UI also offers an online radiology tech program leading to a bachelor’s degree for those with an associate degree in radiologic or nuclear medicine technology.

University Louisiana Monroe logo

University of Louisiana Monroe

The four-year Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology (BSRT) at the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM) is composed of two segments. The pre-radiologic technology segment covers general education coursework and coursework inphysical and biological sciences. Students who successfully complete this coursework continue to the professional program, which includes coursework and clinical rotations in radiologic technology. Working professionals who are registered with the ARRT may be interested in ULM’s online Registered Technologist Education Plan (RTEP), which leads to the BSRT on an accelerated track with credit given for ARRT certification.

University of Mississippi logo

University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) maintains a 2+2 program in radiologic technology that leads to a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences (BSRS). Students admitted to the program first complete two years of general education and prerequisite courses as Allied Health majors. Students then move on to the second phase of the program at an affiliated medical facility, such as the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). During this second phase, students complete radiologic technology coursework and clinical rotations. To complete the second phase and earn the BSRS, students must seek admission to UMMC or another acceptable radiologic technology program and have an overall GPA of 2.5 or better. In total, students will complete 124 credit hours.

University of Southern Indiana logo

University of Southern Indiana

The University of Southern Indiana (USI) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences program that enables students to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to work as effective entry-level radiographers. The curriculum combines the university’s liberal arts core with intensive courses specific to the radiologic sciences and clinical placements in various settings and modalities. USI also offers a bachelor’s degree completion program that allows students who have previously completed an associate degree and are currently certified and registered as radiographers to complete their bachelor’s degree in radiologic science online. This program offers specialty tracks in CT/MRI, clinical education, or radiology management.

Typical Courses in Radiology Technology

The courses that you can expect to take in a rad tech program will vary based on the modalities you plan to study. For example, if you are seeking to become certified as an ultrasound technician, you will mostly take courses related to sonography. The courses you take will also vary based on the degree level. In an associate degree program for entry-level careers in rad tech, you can expect to take basic courses in biology, anatomy, patient care, and radiation physics. A bachelor’s degree program will include more advanced courses in these disciplines, and will commonly also include courses designed to prepare graduates for management and administration careers. Below is a list of classes that are typically offered in radiologic technology programs:

  • Advanced Imaging Procedures
  • Abdominal Sonography
  • Clinical Seminar in Radiography
  • Diagnostic Ultrasound
  • Echocardiography
  • Introduction to Radiologic Technology
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medical Terminology
  • Neurosonography
  • Obstetric Sonography
  • Patient Care and Management Fundamentals
  • Radiation Biology
  • Radiation Physics
  • Radiation Protection and Safety
  • Radiographic Anatomy, Physiology, and Positioning
  • Radiographic Pathology
  • Radiologic Physics and Equipment
  • Sonographic and Ultrasound Physics
  • Sonography Equipment

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the education requirements to become a radiology tech?

An associate’s degree is typically the minimum education required to become certified and find work as a radiologic technician or technologist. If you already have an associate’s degree in a field outside of radiologic science, you may be able to attend radiologic technologist school to complete an add-on certificate program in radiologic technology or a second, accelerated associate degree program that recognizes your previously completed general education. Another option for those who already have an associate’s degree is a bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology. Check with your state’s radiologic science licensing board and the ARRT for the most up-to-date education guidelines in your desired practice area.

Are there online radiology tech schools?

Because both lab-based work and clinical experience are required to earn initial certification or licensure, colleges that offer radiology technician programs at the associate degree level are typically based on on-campus study with limited options for online coursework. However, once you have your associate’s, there are many online bachelor’s in radiologic technology degrees designed as transfer programs. These programs can sometimes include certification in additional modalities and typically include coursework that supports career advancement to supervisory and management roles.

What careers can x-ray technician school qualify graduates for?

Technologists working in x-ray, which is professionally known as radiography, are frequently called radiographers. Depending on the program you complete, you may be eligible for certification or licensure as a radiologic technologist using x-ray imaging, contrast imaging, and fluoroscopy. This usually requires an associate’s degree in radiography or radiologic technology or an associate’s degree in another discipline plus an appropriate educational program in radiography. There are also rad tech schools offering undergraduate certificate programs that, in some states, can lead to careers as a limited scope x-ray technician. Limited scope x-ray technicians are only qualified to operate x-ray machines on certain areas of a patient’s body and may not perform other radiographic imaging or assistive duties unless they are licensed in another area of practice.

Can I attend x-ray technician school via online classes?

If you already have a limited scope x-ray tech license, there are online x-ray tech programs that are known as “bridge” programs that can supply the education needed to qualify for full-scope radiologic technologist careers. These bridge programs typically accept transfer credits from your initial certificate program and lead to an associate’s degree in radiography or radiologic technology. Note that while most courses may be online, at least some in-person lab work or clinical experiences are commonly required.

If I attend ultrasound technician school, can I later become certified in another modality?

The education requirements for licensure in each modality in radiologic technology are set by the state. In some cases, it may be possible to attend ultrasound technician school to become licensed as a sonographer and then add other modalities by completing clinical experience and a certificate program. However, the ARRT (which administers licensing exams in many states and offers voluntary credentialing for RTs in all states) requires that those who initially certified in ultrasound complete a second associate’s degree in radiography (or the desired modality) in order to qualify for other radiologic technologies, except for MRI. See the ARRT Postprimary Eligibility Pathway Handbook for eligibility pathways for medical sonography programs and supporting disciplines.

What is the difference between a degree in radiology and a degree in radiologic technology?

A radiologist is a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats illness using radiologic technologies. A radiologic technologist is a professional who assists radiologists and other medical doctors by taking the radiologic images on which diagnosis and treatment will be based (and in some cases, administering select radiation treatments under supervision). As such, radiology programs take place at the master’s and doctoral levels, while radiologic technology degrees take place at the undergraduate level (with some overlap into master’s degree programs).

What is the difference between radiation therapist programs and x-ray tech programs?

Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, commonly uses ionizing radiation as part of cancer treatments. X-ray technology, by comparison, is based on using electromagnetic radiation to produce images used in diagnosing illness and disease. Because radiation therapy involves more sophisticated technologies and applications, radiation therapist programs are generally found as bachelor’s degrees. X-ray tech programs are commonly found as certificates and associate’s degrees.

What careers can CT tech school prepare me for?

CT, or computed tomography, is a subdiscipline of radiologic technology. While there are CT certificate programs offered by some schools, CT technology is commonly included in associate degree programs that also prepare students for other careers in radiography. Similarly, while there are focused MRI technician programs, MRI is commonly included in a well-rounded course of study with other technologies.

Table Notes:
All data is based on undergraduate statistics.
*The retention rate is the percentage of first-time, full-time students who continued to a second year of study at the same institution.
**The transfer-out rate is the percentage of first-time, full-time students who transferred their credits to another institution within 150% of the normal time to complete their degree.

1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), Accredited Educational Programs: https://www.jrcert.org/find-a-program/