Becoming a certified Radiologic Technologist (Rad Tech or RT) involves being both registered and certified through the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists). Ultrasound and Nuclear Medicine have separate certification requirements and expectations within their respective fields. We will get you aquainted with the certification requirements for each main career path within the the field of radiology. In addition, we will help you understand the different terminology that is used such as the difference between being licensed, certified, and registered as well as provide you with additional resources for the state you plan to work in.
Certified vs. Registered vs. Licensed - What is the Difference?
Using the Rad Tech certification process for illustraion, being certified does not necessarily mean that you are a registered RT. According to the ARRT, being certified is the initial step, then registration happens every year thereafter. Certification happens once you have completed training from an accredited radiology school, passed the ARRT exam, and complied with ethics standards.
Registration happens annually every year thereafter. A registrant is someone who has already been initially certified and continues to meet requirements for annual registration. You can read more about ARRT annual registration requirements and processes on our ARRT resource page. You may only officially call yourself an RT if you have been certified and then registered with the ARRT.
So how does radiology licensing fit into the picture, you ask? Radiology licensing is used to refer to the license that each state grants you to practice as a radiologic technologist in that state. The application and renewal process with the state authority are separate from the ARRT certification and annual registration. While all of this may initially sound confusing and intimidating, most current Rad Techs indicate that the licensing and certification requirements have not been a major hurdle in their quest to become an RT. If you have enrolled in a radiology school that the ARRT recognizes as accredited, you will gain a thorough understanding of the process and will be sufficiently prepared.
ARRT - American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
The ARRT is the organization that sets national standards and examinations for the radiology community. They administer the exams and certify individuals and register them annually. To learn all about the ARRT, exams, prerequisites, and which states require certification, visit our ARRT certification page.
ARDMS - American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Ther ARDMS, like the ARRT is the national association that provides ultrasound credentials, administers exams, and maintains standards set by the Sonography community. Only two states currenlty mandate ARDMS certification, however, being certified is desirable for many employers. Learn all about the ARDMS certification.
NMTCB - Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board
The NMTCB was formed in 1978 to create and administer exams for Nuclear Medicine Technologists. Similar to the other national associations, they too have specialty certifications. Learn all about becoming certified on our NMTCB certification page.