new degree requirement x-ray tech certification 2015 |

Mark your calendar: new degree requirement for x-ray tech certification in 2015

By Lisa Tortorello, Jun 17 '11

Beginning January 1, 2015, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) may require that all radiology certification candidates have an academic degree. While certification by the ARRT is voluntary, many employers may prefer to hire candidates who are certified, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While an associate degree is the prevalent form of education attained among x-ray technicians, there were 213 programs accredited by The Joint Review Committee on Education that led to a certificate, not a formal degree, in 2009.

Currently, x-ray techs may apply for ARRT voluntary certification as long as they have completed an ARRT-approved and accredited program and pass an examination. Under the new initiative, anyone applying for certification in one of the primary certification categories may require to have an academic degree. The primary certification categories are radiography, nuclear medicine technology, radiation therapy, sonography and magnetic resonance imaging.

The initiative is not a new one. The ARRT first presented the possibility of an associate degree requirement almost three years ago, in September 2008. After receiving input via public comment, that ARRT Board of Trustees adopted the requirement which states that, "candidates graduating on or after January 1, 2015, must have pursued an associate degree from an institution accredited by a mechanism acceptable to ARRT." However, the degree does not have to be in radiologic science.

Why the change in policy? The ARRT explains that "quality patient care relies on cognitive skills and knowledge developed through coursework included in the general education requirements of an associate degree program. Communication skills, sociological understanding and psychological insights contribute greatly to an individual's ability to function within the profession."

So, what does this mean for individuals considering a career as an x-ray tech or who are currently practicing?

  • Already employed as an x-ray tech. If a person is already a practicing x-ray technician, there is no need to worry. Anyone graduating on or before December 31, 2014 may be exempt from the degree requirement. Certification pursued from the ARRT prior to January 1, 2015 may not be affected.
  • Not yet an x-ray technician, but will be graduating on or before December 31, 2014. These individuals may be exempt from the degree requirement for ARRT certification.
  • A student who will graduate after the December 31, 2014 deadline or someone considering a career as an x-ray technician and would like to pursue certification. In order to be eligible for ARRT certification, individuals may required to hold an academic degree. According to the BLS, in 2009 there were 397 radiologic programs resulting in an associate degree that were accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. There were 35 bachelor's degree programs. But remember, the degree does not have to be in radiologic sciences and there are no restrictions on when the degree can be obtained. For example, a professional educational program in radiology may be completed prior to pursuing a degree. Or, a degree program may be pursued after radiology studies.


X-Ray Technician Articles:

By Lisa Tortorello, Aug 04 '11
Employment opportunities for x-ray technicians are projected to increase from 2008 to 2018. The various specialties in the field of x-ray technology are growing at different rates.... ›› More
By Lisa Tortorello, Jul 29 '11
What is the process for an x-ray tech pursuing certification and/or registration? And what does it mean to potential employers and patients?... ›› More