How to Become a Certified X Ray Tech

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to become a certified X Ray Technician in the United States.

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There is no one definitive path to becoming a certified X ray tech. However, most will need to complete an accredited radiologic technology program and earn passing scores on certification exams. Some may also need to complete additional training or continuing education courses to maintain their certification.

What is an X Ray Technician?

An X ray technician is a health care professional who performs diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x-rays, on patients. X-ray techs are an important part of the health care team, and they play a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Job Description

An X-ray technician, also known as a radiographer, is a medical professional who uses imaging equipment to create diagnostic images of the human body. These images are used by physicians to diagnose and treat diseases and injuries.

X-ray technicians operate x-ray machines and other imaging equipment to produce images of patients’ bones, organs, and soft tissue. They work in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Some X-ray technicians specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as cardiology or Orthopedics.

X-ray technicians must be licensed in most states. To become licensed, X-ray technicians must complete an accredited radiography program and pass a state exam.


The duties of an x-ray technician, also called a radiographer, are to take diagnostic images of a patient’s body using radiation. The technician is responsible for positioning the patient and the equipment, as well as for operating the machine to get the best possible pictures. In some cases, the radiographer may also be responsible for administering contrast material through an IV to help improve the quality of the images.


An X-ray technician (radiographer) is a healthcare professional who uses imaging technologies to diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. X-ray techs may also be known as radiologic technologists or radiographers. They are trained in the use of equipment that produces images of the human body, which are then interpreted by physicians to make diagnoses.

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Most x-ray techs work in hospitals, but some find positions in outpatient facilities, diagnostic laboratories, and doctors’ offices. Some positions may require certification or licensure in addition to completing an accredited training program.

The median annual salary for x-ray techs was $60,070 in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS projects that employment of x-ray techs will grow by 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

How to Become an X Ray Technician

If you want to become an X Ray Technician, you will need to complete an accredited training program. Once you have completed your training, you will need to pass the certification exam. The certification process will vary depending on the state that you are in, but generally, you will need to complete a certain number of clinical hours and pass an exam.


In order to become an X ray technician, also called a radiologic technologist, you must have completed high school or earned a GED. You will then need to complete an accredited radiography program. Admission into these programs is generally competitive, and preference may be given to those who have completed some college coursework, especially in the sciences. Once you have completed an accredited program, you must then pass a national certification exam in order to become certified and licensed to practice.


Becoming an X-ray technician requires completing an accredited training program and passing a certification exam. Certification is not required in every state, but it is becoming increasingly common. Many employers prefer to hire certified technicians, and some states may require certification for licensure. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers the most widely recognized certification for X-ray technicians. To be eligible for the ARRT certification exam, candidates must complete an accredited training program and meet ethical standards set by the ARRT.

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X-ray technicians, also called radiologic technologists, earned a median annual salary of $58,120 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 To become an x-ray tech, you need specialized training in radiography, which can be completed in as little as two years at a community college or vocational school. Some x-ray tech programs take up to four years to complete if you opt for a bachelor’s degree.

After completing an accredited x-ray tech program, you must obtain state licensure and pass a national certification exam before you can practice. Read on to learn more about how to become an x-ray technician.

Step 1: Meet Prerequisites
All x-ray tech programs have prerequisites in math and science that must be completed before starting radiography coursework. These prerequisites typically include courses in English composition, math (algebra or higher), chemistry and biology. If you have not completed all of the necessary prerequisite coursework when you apply to an x-ray tech program, you may be able to take prerequisite courses concurrently with beginning radiography coursework. Check with the admissions office at your chosen school for specific prerequisite requirements.

Step 2: Complete an Accredited Radiography Program
Community colleges and vocational schools across the country offer certificate and associate degree programs in radiography that can be completed in two to four years, respectively. During your training, you will take lecture classes on topics such as medical ethics and patient care; however, most of your time will be spent in hands-on training in clinical rotations at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. X-ray tech programs must be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) to ensure that they meet quality standards; prospective students should only consider JRCERT-accredited programs when choosing a school.2

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Step 3: Become Licensed or Certified (Depending on State Requirements) & Complete Continuing Education Courses
All states require radiologic technologists to earn licensure or certification before they can practice; requirements vary by state but usually include passing an exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).3 Once licensed or certified, most states require x-ray techs to complete continuing education credits (CECs) periodically— typically 10–24 credits every two years—to maintain their credential; ARRT offers convenient online CE courses that satisfy most state requirements for CECs.4 Some employers may also require their technologists to earn specialty certifications in areas such as computed tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Job Opportunities

X-ray technicians, also called radiologic technologists or radiographers, produce diagnostic images of the body. They typically work in hospitals, medical offices and diagnostic laboratories. Some x-ray techs specialize in a specific area, such as computed tomography (CT) scanning or mammography.

Employment of x-ray techs is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and the demand for diagnostic imaging will lead to new job opportunities for qualified x-ray techs.

X ray techs typically need an associate’s degree in radiologic technology. They must complete a training program and pass a certification exam to earn their license.


In order to become a certified X ray tech, you will need to fulfill a few requirements. First, you will need to have completed an accredited X ray tech program. Once you have finished your schooling, you will then need to pass the national certification exam administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). After passing the exam, you will be able to apply for state licensure.

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