The healthcare industry is expected to create around 4 million jobs by the year 2026.

With so much growth in this industry, it’s a great field to look into for future job opportunities. Along with growth, this field has several opportunities for advancement, as well as many positions that offer great benefits.

If you’re interested in entering the medical field and aren’t sure which job is right for you, why not consider a job as an x-ray technologist.

X-ray technologists get to work with the imaging equipment while interacting with patients regularly.

Keep reading to learn more about what an x-ray technologist does, how to become one, and how to maintain your x-ray license!

What is an X-Ray Technologist?

X-Ray technologists, also known as radiologic technologists, take images of various body parts using special equipment.

After the x-ray technologist has taken the radiography, a radiologist reads them in order to diagnose a patient’s condition. When working with radiation, it’s important that precautions are taken. This ensures the safety of both the patient and the technologist.

Skills that an x-ray technologist must possess include:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Proficiency with medical and data software
  • Ability to operate and maintain imaging equipment
  • Stamina to stand for long hours
  • Strength to assist patients

The average salary for an x-ray technologist in California is $32.66 per hour. The most common benefits included with this position are license reimbursement, loan repayment program, 403(b), stock purchase plan, and dependent care reimbursement.

It’s usually preferred for an x-ray technologist to have some relevant experience prior to applying for the position.

How Do You Become an X-Ray Technologist?

To become an x-ray technologist, one must complete an accredited radiologic technology program that awards an Associate of Science degree.

After an aspiring x-ray technologist completes a program, they must pass the boards through ARRT (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists). This certification will reward the student with the title of an RT (registered technologist). 

This test is a 4-hour test that has 220 questions and is graded on a pass or fail basis. 

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists

The ARRT is a recognized credentialing body who oversees continuing education activities as well as those activities relating to x-ray use on the human body.

The ARRT offers credentials in medical imaging, interventional procedures, and radiation therapy to name a few. They oversee the certification process as well as the ethics and examination requirements in their field.

The mission of the ARRT is to maintain high expectations for patient care by recognizing the individuals who are qualified to work in this field. The ARRT was founded in 1922 and their first credential was awarded the same year.

How Do You Maintain Your X-Ray License?

After an x-ray technologist has earned their certification, they must continuously renew it throughout their professional career. 

This involves a biennial recertification process. This means that the ARRT requires the x-ray technologist to complete an additional 24 continuing education credits every two years. This recertification process ensures that the individual is up to date on information necessary to the field.

Requirements that are Specific to California

Most states require licensure to become an x-ray technologist before starting a job while others don’t.

The State of California has specific requirements for radiology continuing education.  Below is the summary. 

Radiography – 24 hours in two-year period, 4 of which shall be in digital radiography

Limited – 24 hours in two-year period, 4 of which shall be in digital radiography

Mammography – 24 hours in two-year period: 10 of which must be in mammography

Certified Supervisors and Operators – 10 hours in two-year period

Fluoroscopy — 4 hours in radiation safety in two-year period

Fluoroscopy Certified Supervisors and Operators – 10 hours in two-year period, 4 of which shall be in radiation safety

Radiology continuing education courses must be in subjects related to the application of x ray to the human body and may include x ray administration, x ray management, x ray pathology, x ray diagnosis and x ray quality control.  Courses in Ultrasound, MRI, CPR and topics not related to the application of x rays to the human body cannot be accepted.

Visit the California Department of Health website to see the complete requirements.

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DRSEM/CDPH%20Document%20Library/RHB/Certification/RHB-CEC-Renewal.pdf

After the individual has completed the credits, they’re required to keep the records for at least four years.

These documents must also be available to the RHB (Radiologic Health Branch) to look over if they choose.

Aside from providing the x-ray technologist with up to date information, recertification is also necessary for staying in compliance with the Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is endorsed by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

A Closer Look at Recertification

Certified Radiologic Technologists (CRTs) need to earn 24 Category A or A+ CE credits for recertification of which four of these credits must be in digital radiography. These should be taken in the two years immediately preceding the expiration date on their permit. 

Radiologic Technology Fluoroscopy (RTF) Permit ADDITIONAL Requirements  • CRTs with a RTF permit are required to earn 24 approved continuing education credits; four of which are required to be in radiation safety for the clinical uses of fluoroscopy. [17 CCR 30403(a)(2)]. • PA with a RTF permit:  For purposes of renewing your RTF permit, you will need to earn 24 approved continuing education credits; four of which are required to be in radiation safety for the clinical uses of fluoroscopy.

The Department will accept the following advanced credential certificates issued by ARRT for 24 CE credits if the certificate was issued within the two years immediately preceding the expiration date of the certificate or permit: 

• Mammography** • Computerized Tomography  • Quality Management  • Bone Densitometry  • Vascular-interventional Radiography  • Cardiac-interventional Radiography  • Radiologist Assistant  • Radiation Therapy

The ARRT requires CE credits to be earned during the biennium ending on the last day of the month before the individual’s birth month. Technologists who are already certified and registered in one discipline but choose to become certified and registered in another discipline will maintain the CE schedule from their original discipline.

As new research, technology, and jobs come available, it’s important to stay up to date. As professionals, one of the best things we can do is continually grow.

Now that you understand what it takes to continue your education as an x-ray technologist, contact us to get started!