How Long Does It Take to Become a Radiology Tech?

By | March 12, 2024


Becoming a radiology tech is an exciting journey into the world of healthcare and technology. The profession of radiology technology plays a critical role in diagnosing and treating patients through the use of medical imaging techniques. As a radiology tech, you have the opportunity to work alongside healthcare professionals, making a difference in the lives of patients every day.

The importance of becoming a radiology tech cannot be overstated. With the increasing demand for medical imaging services, radiology techs are essential members of the healthcare team. They operate sophisticated equipment, capture high-quality images, and assist radiologists in interpreting results accurately. Are you ready to embark on this rewarding career path and wonder how long it takes to become a radiology tech? Let’s delve into the details together.

Education and Training Requirements

Academic Qualifications Needed

To become a radiology tech, certain academic qualifications are required. Typically, individuals pursuing this career path must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs may also require specific courses in math, science, and anatomy to ensure a solid foundation for radiology technology coursework. Additionally, strong communication skills and attention to detail are essential for success in this field.

Accredited Radiology Tech Programs

One crucial step in becoming a radiology tech is enrolling in an accredited radiology technology program. Accreditation ensures that the program meets high standards of quality and prepares students for entry-level positions in the field. These programs offer a combination of classroom instruction and clinical training to provide a well-rounded education in radiology technology.

Clinical Training Requirements

In addition to academic coursework, clinical training is a vital component of a radiology tech program. This hands-on experience allows students to apply their knowledge in a real-world healthcare setting, working directly with patients and healthcare professionals. Clinical training provides valuable practical skills and prepares students for the responsibilities they will encounter in their future careers as radiology techs.

Certification and Licensing Process

ARRT Certification Exam

To become a certified radiology tech, you must pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam. This exam assesses your knowledge and skills in the field of radiologic technology and ensures that you meet the national standards for competency. Preparation for the ARRT exam involves studying various topics such as patient care, radiation protection, image production, and procedures specific to different modalities.

State Licensing Requirements

In addition to obtaining ARRT certification, most states require radiology techs to hold a state license to practice. Each state has its own set of licensing requirements, which may include completing a specific number of clinical hours, passing a state-specific exam, or meeting continuing education requirements. It is essential to research and understand the licensing requirements in the state where you plan to work to ensure compliance with all regulations.

Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education is a crucial aspect of maintaining your certification and license as a radiology tech. The field of radiologic technology is constantly evolving with new technologies and practices, making ongoing education essential to stay current. ARRT requires radiology techs to complete a certain number of continuing education credits every two years to renew their certification. By staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field, you can provide the best possible care to your patients and advance your career as a radiology tech.

Factors Affecting Time to Become a Radiology Tech

Full-time vs. Part-time Enrollment

Choosing between full-time and part-time enrollment can significantly impact the time it takes to become a radiology tech. Full-time programs typically offer a more structured curriculum, allowing students to complete their studies at a faster pace. On the other hand, part-time enrollment provides flexibility for those balancing work or family commitments, but it may extend the duration of the program.

Prior Healthcare Experience

Having prior healthcare experience can expedite the process of becoming a radiology tech. Individuals with a background in healthcare may already possess relevant skills and knowledge, potentially reducing the time needed to complete the required training and coursework. This experience can also enhance job prospects and increase confidence in the field.

Online vs. On-campus Programs

The choice between online and on-campus programs can impact the timeline for becoming a radiology tech. Online programs offer flexibility and convenience, allowing students to study from anywhere at their own pace. However, hands-on training and practical experience may be limited in online programs compared to traditional on-campus programs. Consider your learning style and preferences when deciding between these options.

Average Time to Become a Radiology Tech

Length of Associate’s Degree Programs

Completing an associate’s degree program is a common pathway to becoming a radiology tech. These programs typically last around two years, providing students with a comprehensive education in radiologic technology. During this time, you will learn about anatomy, patient care, medical imaging techniques, and radiation safety. The structured curriculum equips you with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in the field of radiology technology.

Time Needed for Clinical Training

Clinical training is a crucial component of becoming a radiology tech. This hands-on experience allows students to apply their theoretical knowledge in a real-world healthcare setting. The duration of clinical training varies but typically ranges from 12 to 24 months. Under the supervision of experienced radiology techs and radiologists, you will gain practical skills in operating imaging equipment, positioning patients for scans, and ensuring image quality.

Exam Preparation Time

Before becoming a certified radiology tech, you must pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam. Preparation for this exam is essential and requires dedication and focus. Many students opt to enroll in exam preparation courses or utilize study materials to enhance their knowledge and boost their confidence. The time needed for exam preparation varies depending on individual study habits and familiarity with the exam content. By investing time and effort into preparing for the ARRT exam, you can increase your chances of success and kickstart your career as a qualified radiology tech.


In conclusion, the journey to becoming a radiology tech is a rewarding and impactful one. By completing the necessary education, training, certification, and licensing requirements, you can embark on a fulfilling career in the field of radiology technology. The demand for skilled radiology techs continues to grow, making it a promising career choice for those passionate about healthcare and technology.

As we’ve explored how long it takes to become a radiology tech, remember that the time frame can vary based on factors such as program type, enrollment status, and prior experience. Proper planning, dedication, and a commitment to continuous learning are key to successfully navigating the path to becoming a radiology tech. Are you ready to take the next step towards this exciting career? Embrace the journey ahead and embark on a fulfilling career as a radiology tech.