Get to know the nuances of this exciting branch of diagnostic medical imaging and find out what you’ll need to pursue your career as a radiology technician in our comprehensive guide.

The use of X-rays and other imaging tests makes it easier to accurately diagnose injuries and illnesses. A radiologic technologist is essential in ensuring these imaging tests are done correctly, and those interested in pursuing the role will need to be able to balance technical and clinical abilities with compassionate patient care. Radiologic technologists are trained to perform X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and other imaging tests, all of which allow doctors and other healthcare providers to make diagnoses and create treatment plans.

Is radiology technology the right career path for you? Handling this aspect of patient care involves developing specific skills and becoming nationally certified. Knowing more about this type of healthcare career, including what it involves and what it takes to become one, can help you decide if you want to be a radiologic technologist.

In This Article:


What Is a Radiologic Technologist?

A radiologic technologist, also known as a radiographer, has the training and skills needed to take X-rays and handle other imaging tests that are used for diagnostic purposes. Radiologic technologists receive training in how to use X-ray equipment and other kinds of equipment used for imaging tests. 

Radiologic technologists may perform exams that include having a patient drink a solution that helps provide clearer images of soft tissue or injecting the patient with a contrast dye. Technologists usually take patients’ medical histories and maintain patient records as well. 

When patients are ready to have X-rays or other imaging tests done, radiologic technologists ensure that both the patient and the equipment are in the correct position. Radiologic technologists are also expected to follow orders from doctors or other healthcare providers, such as performing a particular test or tests on specific areas of the body.

Radiologic Technologist Career Outlook & Salary

Radiologic technology can be a good career choice for you if you’re interested in working with computerized and imaging equipment and working directly with patients. Becoming a radiologic technologist doesn’t require attending medical school for several years or earning a master’s or doctoral degree. As a radiologic technologist, the skills you learn focus more on radiographic imaging, advanced positioning, radiology pathology, and similar areas to obtain the images healthcare providers need to provide patients with an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

With the proper education, certification, and licensing, radiologic technologists can work in a wide range of healthcare settings. Keep in mind that while these professionals mainly work in hospitals, some work in doctor’s offices or outpatient care centers. This provides you with an opportunity to look for positions in the type of healthcare facility you prefer working in. Being a radiologic technologist allows you to combine technical skills with patient care skills.

Radiology Technologist Salary

Regarding salaries for radiology techs, there’s no simple answer. The salary a radiologic technologist earns depends on several factors, such as the type of facility they work in, the city and state they’re located in, and the amount of experience they have. View the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for more detailed salary ranges.

While salaries can vary considerably, the current job growth for radiology technicians outpaces the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the increase in job outlook for radiologic technologists is predicted to be 6% from 2022 through 2032. The need for trained radiologic technologists to perform imaging tests, especially on aging populations, is among the main reasons behind this steady job outlook.

Radiologic Technologist Specialties

Radiologic technologists may choose to specialize in other imaging modalities. Through additional education and certification, these technologists can enhance their skills and narrow their focus into a more niche area of radiology, including but not limited to becoming:

  • Mammographers specialize in performing mammography exams to detect breast cancer and other breast diseases. They use specialized X-ray equipment to produce detailed images of breast tissue for diagnostic and screening purposes.
  • Computed Tomography Technicians operate CT scanners to produce cross-sectional images of patients' bodies. These professionals are skilled in capturing high-resolution images that help diagnose conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and infectious diseases.
  • Medical Dosimetrists play a critical role in cancer treatment by designing radiation treatment plans for patients. They calculate the appropriate radiation dose to ensure the maximum treatment effect while minimizing exposure to healthy tissues.
  • Bone Densitometry Technologists use X-ray technology to measure bone mineral density, helping to diagnose and assess the risk of osteoporosis. Their work is crucial in developing treatment plans for patients with bone loss.
  • Sonographers, also known as ultrasound technicians, use ultrasound equipment to create images of internal body structures. They work across various specialties, including obstetrics and cardiology, providing valuable diagnostic information.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technicians operate MRI machines, which use magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the body's internal structures. They are key in diagnosing a range of conditions, from brain tumors to spinal injuries.
  • Nuclear Medicine Technicians administer radioactive drugs to patients and use specialized cameras to capture images of how these drugs are distributed within the body. Their work is vital in diagnosing and treating conditions, including many types of cancers and heart disease.


How Do You Become a Radiology Technician?

How long does it take to become a radiologic technologist, and what kind of training will you need? To pursue an entry-level role as a radiologic technician, you’ll typically need at least an associate degree with training in anatomy, radiographic imaging and physics, procedures, and positioning, as well as related knowledge of patient care skills. Most associate degrees can be completed within two and a half years, though this varies by program. 

As an alternative that can be completed in a shorter time frame, you can consider selecting a certificate program like the Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist with Medical Assisting Skills Certificate Program at CHCP, which prepares students to pursue a career as a limited medical radiologic technologist (also referred to as a limited X-ray technologist).

What Do You Learn in Radiology Tech School?

When you choose to enroll in a degree program such as the Radiologic Technology AAS Degree Completion Program at the College of Health Care Professions (CHCP), you can expect to learn techniques needed for performing imaging tests, including how to prepare, position, and care for patients, maintain equipment, and take diagnostic quality images. These programs also usually include courses on inpatient care, procedures and positioning, patient safety, radiation physics, equipment, radiation biology, and radiographic pathology.

After earning a degree, you'll need to become certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to work as a radiology technologist. Many states, including Texas, also require licensing or certification for this career.

Are There Online Radiology Tech Programs?

Students aiming to become certified radiologic technologists (RT) will need to complete hands-on clinical training to appropriately prepare them for the role. This means that while there are hybrid radiology technician programs, students will not be able to complete training for the role entirely online. 

However, radiologic technicians who are interested in furthering their careers may choose to enroll in further education that’s available remotely, such as the Radiologic Science Management - Bachelor of Science Degree Program at CHCP. In this type of program, you’ll hone your leadership skills in communication, asset resource management, human resource management, and more.

Choose Radiologic Technician Training at CHCP

When you’re looking for a degree program to become a radiologic technologist, The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP) can help. 

We offer an Associate of Applied Science Degree Completion Program in Radiologic Technology that is designed to help train students in the skills and knowledge required for this career. This online program typically takes approximately 64 weeks to complete and includes a comprehensive ARRT Registry Review course as well as a clinical education component.

To be eligible for the Radiologic Technology Associate of Applied Science Degree Completion Program at CHCP, you will need to be a state-licensed Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist (LMRT).

Ready to explore your options in the field of diagnostic medical imaging professions? Fill out an application today to speak to an advisor and learn about our wide array of program offerings.