Researching RADIOLOGY SCHOOLS? GET THE INFO YOU’RE LOOKING For.
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, RadiologySchools411 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
- What Is Radiologic Technology?
- Radiologic Technology Programs and Certification
- Radiology and Sonography Programs Online
- Radiology Technologist School Information by State
- Best Value Radiologic Technology Schools with On-Campus Programs
- Radiology School Profiles
- Typical Courses in Radiology Technology
- Additional Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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 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 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)
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
- Positron emission tomography (PET scan)
- Radiologist assistant
- Vascular interventional radiography
- Vascular sonography
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.
- Select One
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
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.
|School||2- or 4-Year School||JRCERT Accred.?||Grad Rate1||Retention Rate*1||Transfer Out Rate**1||Student Loan Default Rate1||Net Price1|
|State Technical College of Missouri||2-year (public)||Yes||71%||85%||2%||8.8%||$8,071|
|Northwest Iowa Community College||2-year (public)||Yes||65%||78%||8%||10.7%||$10,278|
|Mitchell Technical Institute||2-year (public)||Yes||68%||81%||6%||10%||$10,885|
|Ball State University||4-year (public)||Yes||62%||78%||26%||4.7%||$13,535|
|Maine College of Health Professions||4-year (private)||Yes||100%||83%||N.Av.||2.5%||$16,795|
|Cleveland University-Kansas City||4-year (private)||No||100%||50%||N.Av.||2.6%||$16,883|
|Johnson College||2-year (private)||Yes||64%||68%||N.Av.||12.6%||$17,442|
|Dunwoody College of Technology||4-year (private)||Yes||64%||82%||1%||11.0%||$19,132|
|St. Luke’s College||4-year (private)||Yes||100%||N.Av.||N.Av.||6.2%||$20,290|
|Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health||4-year (private)||Yes||70%||77%||13%||1.7%||$20,836|
|Clarkson College||4-year (private)||Yes||74%||77%||N.Av.||3.7%||$21,655|
|Gannon University||4-year (private)||Yes||68%||85%||20%||4.9%||$21,793|
See Table Notes and References at bottom of page.
Radiology School Profiles
The University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine offers three on-campus pathways to earning 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, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cardiovascular Interventional, or Breast Imaging. Designed to prepare students through intellectual, professional, and social learning opportunities, students in the University of Iowa’s radiation science educational program will work alongside faculty members and instructors. The University of Iowa also offers an online radiology tech program leading to a bachelor’s degree for those with an associate’s degree in radiologic or nuclear medicine technology.
As a leader in diagnostic imaging education, Long Island University (LIU) Post offers a four-year rad tech program that is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). LIU Post’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Medical Imaging (Radiologic Technology) addresses the growing demand for professionals who 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.
Students of the Newman University Associate of Science (AS) in Health Science-Radiologic Technology program are educated to become successful radiographers who provide care to patients and position them to capture high-quality radiographic imagery. Rad techs must understand safety practices associated with radiation and determine the proper quantity of radiation required for accurate diagnostic images. Graduates are competent, entry-level radiologic technologists, prepared to specialize in the use of x-rays to aid the physician in diagnosis and treatment of diseases. An additional concentration in Computed Tomography (CT) is offered as an add-on to the AS program.
The Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences offers a Bachelor of Medical Science (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 school also offers an RT-BMSc program in Medical Imaging, with coursework online and in a hybrid format, specifically aimed at working professionals who have already completed a radiography program. Graduates are prepared to advance their careers in radiologic technology.
The Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology (BSRT) program at Austin Peay State University (APSU) prepares graduates to aid physicians by producing quality radiographic images to accurately diagnose injury and disease. Students can choose to concentrate in one of four modalities across the various disciplines of imaging science: Radiography, Radiation Therapy, Nuclear Medicine, or Sonography. 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.
The University of Cincinnati (UC) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Radiation Science (BSRT) program that combines the quality of the UC’s campus-based degree with the convenience of studying at home. The online program offers currently employed technicians the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree while maintaining professional and personal responsibilities. Prospective students should have 60 transferable credit hours from an associate degree or comparable program. UC also offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Radiologic Technology as well as an associate degree in Pre-Health Professions.
Arkansas State University’s 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 specific imaging modalities and patient services to be used under the direction of a physician. Concentrations offered in the BSRS include Cardiovascular-Interventional Technology; Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Computed Tomography; Mammography/Breast Sonography; Medical Imaging Informatics; Radiation Therapy; and Sonography. Past graduates have been placed in diverse positions, from technical advisors to hospitals and clinics to sales representatives for diagnostic imagery equipment.
Graduates of the JRCERT-accredited radiologic technology program at Xavier University are prepared to work as radiologic techs in many different specialities including surgery, fluoroscopy, diagnostic x-ray, and mobile examinations. Areas for advancement include MRI, CT, and special procedures like vascular studies. Students will graduate with clinical training (approximately 1,900 hours). The Xavier University associate degree in radiologic technology program also includes clinical competency evaluation and training.
The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Radiologic Technology program at the University of Hartford is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (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 CT or MRI. Graduates are prepared as leaders in healthcare through an undergraduate focus 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.
The four-year radiologic technology program at the University Louisiana Monroe (ULM) is composed of two segments. While the pre-radiologic technology segment covers the basic physical and biological sciences, the professional program prepares the graduate for a career in radiologic technology. Radiography school students gain practical, hands-on experience and accomplish their clinical education through the university’s association with several hospitals in the area. Working professionals who are registered with the ARRT may be interested in ULM’s online Registered Technologist Education Plan (RTEP), which leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Radiologic Technology.
The Department of Health Sciences at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) offers a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences (BSRS). Radiologic tech graduates receive a well-rounded education in general as well as specialized imaging, creating excellent opportunities for career growth within the field. Two tracks are offered, one for credentialed RTs and one for students who do not have a radiologic technology background. Program graduates learn an array of procedures like CT, MRI, and Cardiovascular Imaging. The BSRS at California State University, Northridge is accredited by JRCERT.
The JRCERT-accredited Bachelor of Science (BS) in Radiographic Science program at Idaho State University (ISU) aims to teach students the technical and academic foundations required to conduct radiologic imaging procedures safely and competently. Graduates of the bachelor’s degree program 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 American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). ISU also offers a certificate program in diagnostic medical sonography.
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-long 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.
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 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 American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam. The program is accredited by the JRCERT. The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences also offers advanced certificates in computed tomography, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, among other programs.
Morehead State University’s associate degree in radiologic science program can be earned in as little 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, magnetic resonance, and radiation therapy. Program graduates are also prepared to sit for the ARRT certification exam in radiography. Morehead State University is also home to bachelor’s degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography and computed tomography/magnetic resonance. The school also offers an online Leadership in Medical Imaging bachelor’s degree program that can prepare students for management and leadership roles in the imaging sciences.
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 required liberal arts core with intensive courses specific to the radiologic sciences and clinical placements in various settings and modalities. Since 2008, 100% of program graduates have found work in radiologic technology within a year from graduation. USI also offers a bachelor’s degree completion program that allows students who have previously completed an associate’s 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
- Introduction to Radiologic Technology
- Medical Ethics
- Medical Terminology
- 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
- The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging (Image Gently Alliance): A professional alliance promoting standards of care for medical imaging in pediatric environments.
- The American Board of Radiology (ABR): Medical specialty board (part of the American Board of Medical Specialties) that certifies radiologists (MDs).
- The American College of Radiology (ACR): An association for radiologists and radiological physicians (MDs) in the US and Canada.
- The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT): Offers voluntary credentialing exams for residents of all US states and administers licensing exams for select states.
- American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT): The leading professional association for RTs in all disciplines, offering continuing education, equipment discounts, and more.
- Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences, Inc. (AEIRS): A member-driven organization specifically for medical imaging and radiologic science educators.
- Aunt Minnie: Provides medical imaging news, forums, and more.
- Radiological Society of North America (RSNA): Offers continuing education, networking opportunities, grants, and other professional benefits.
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.
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/