In 2021, the FDA approved a groundbreaking innovation in computed tomography technology. The new photon-counting CT mechanism gives clinicians far more information.
And, it reduces the amount of “noise”—useless information.
Radiographic technology changes quickly. New information continually supplants the old. MRI strategies are evolving, and machine learning is upending the field.
Thus, radiology professionals benefit from continuing education courses throughout their careers. CE courses keep professionals up-to-date on the latest discoveries and techniques.
With that knowledge, radiology technologists and clinicians can deliver top-quality care. That’s why licensing boards mandate continuing education for anyone working in medical imaging.
What do these requirements mean for you? Discover the answers to your most pressing continuing education questions. Then, learn how to meet those requirements fast—starting today.
What Are the Continuing Education Requirements for Radiology and X-Ray Careers?
In the United States, most radiologic professionals must earn 24 qualifying CE credits every biennium. A biennium is a period of two years.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technology® assigns each radiology professional’s biennium. The ARRT® sets the first day of your biennium on the first day of your birth month.
Your first biennium begins on that day after you pass your initial ARRT® examination. The deadline to earn 24 qualifying credits is exactly two years (730 days) after the biennium begins.
Which Organizations Set CE Requirements for Radiology Professionals?
Beyond ARRT®, some states impose additional CE requirements. You’ll need to meet them to maintain an active license in that state.
Certain states mandate additional CE hours for certain radiology professions. Massachusetts requires practicing Radiologist Assistants to earn 50 CE credits every two years. That’s over double the number generally required.
Other states impose restrictions on qualifying coursework. Florida only allows three hours of personal development to count toward meeting CE requirements. At least nine CE credits must be technical, but CRTs must earn 24 CE credits every 2 years.
Texas determines whether CE activities are directly applicable to radiological practice. Some activities only indirectly apply. To maintain a license in Texas, only 50% of your CE credits can be indirect.
Why Is Continuing Education Mandatory?
Continuing education helps sustain the growth of the radiology field. The Bureau of Labor predicts that the field of radiology will continue to grow at a rate of 9%. Over 28,000 jobs will open over the next ten years. This growth is easier to sustain in a system of continuing education for this continually evolving field. Continuing education also empowers professionals to approach new technology more successfully. This lets all professionals take better advantage of opportunities offered by technological innovations.
Continuing education offers opportunities for professionals at all levels to learn about new technology. This enables an improved approach to techs across the board.
Which Continued Education Courses Should I Choose to Advance My Career?
If you’re currently a technologist, you might consider using CE courses to take the next step in your career. ARRT® offers certifications that function as prerequisites for high-paying radiology jobs. These include:
- MRI technologist
- Radiation therapist
- Nuclear medicine technologist
ARRT® publishes educational pathway guides. So, you can read the requirements to earn different credentials. For exampe, you might want to explore credential options to get certified in nuclear medicine technology.
What Qualities Should I Look For in a CE Provider?
As you aim to meet your CE requirements, you’ll see hundreds of programs advertised online. There are also independent study options. What qualities make a CE program legitimate and worthwhile?
First and foremost, make sure you’re taking classes from an accredited program. Accredited programs are reviewed by Recognized Continuing Education Evaluation Mechanisms (RCEEMs) for ARRT®. Read a full list of ARRT®.-approved accrediting agencies.
It’s easier to do the work when it taps into your internal motivation. Which CE subjects are you the most interested in? Do you need specific courses to meet your career goals?
Then, think retrospectively. What is your learning style? What is your schedule like?
Some people thrive if they’re part of a study group. Others need audio or visual resources to remember things well. And some people know they do their best when they read their textbook early in the morning—maybe even at 5:00 AM. Do you do better with a hard copy of a book or an e-book that you can access on your computer?
Look for an education provider that offers the courses you really care about, in a format that works best for your mind.
Direct vs. Indirect Coursework
Most states accept ARRT®s CE requirements for continued certification. Check if you’re in one of those states, or if your state differentiates between direct and indirect coursework.
Directly related courses are, for the most part, those that discuss ionizing radiation.
Facility-Based vs. Online Education
There are benefits to both facility-based and online education. Facility-based education may offer more hands-on experience in a laboratory setting or provide and hour or two lecture that you can attend.
Online education is convenient to access. It typically fits your schedule better. And, many online options include portable resources.
You might be a person that learns best with a book in hand.
All options are valid. Choose what works for you.
Some employers pay for employees’ CE courses. But, they only pay up to a certain dollar amount, to qualify for a payroll tax deduction. Other employers simply offer it as a perk.
Regardless of how your employer views CE compensation, it’s wise to look for a cost-effective program.
How to Meet ARRT®s Continuing Education Requirements
Meeting your CE requirements is a few-step process. Once you’ve completed all the steps successfully, you should receive a certificate of completion.
Depending on your role and location, you may need to take additional steps. Consult your manager or state guidelines for additional instructions.
1. Enroll in CE Program
To enroll in continuing education courses online or mailed, choose a provider, choose a course, take the test and receive a certificate upon passing. Then, follow ARRT®s instructions. ARRT® publishes detailed directions regarding how to register for, and report, CE coursework.
2. Earn Credits per Activity
Each continuing education activity is worth one or more credit hours. Credit hours roughly equal the estimated time a student spends on an activity.
Learning activities are planned, organized, and administered with a specific purpose. All activities are intended to maintain or enhance radiological skills. These include non-technical skills used in the course of caring for patients.
Types of CE Credits
There are a few different types of credits. Category A credits count towards CE requirements for radiology technologists and limited license holders. These credits must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- RCEEM approved
- State licensing agency accepted
- ARRT® recognized academic courses
Relevant courses in anatomy and physiology, and documented practicum courses, may count toward either direct or indirect CE credit hours.
Category A+ credits for activities meet CE criteria for registered radiologist assistants®, but can also be taken by radiologic technologists. Category A+ activities and courses cover content that meets RCEEM+ approval.
3. Submit Credits for Tracking
As you complete CE activities, get documentation from the activity’s sponsor. You must track your own credits. ARRT® will periodically request records of credits.
You’ll need to report your credits to ARRT® to renew your license.
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