- The American Registry of Radiologic Technology (ARRT) certification is a document to verify if individuals are qualified to work in diagnostic imaging, interventional procedures, and radiation therapy.
- To apply for certification, professionals can choose from 13 ARRT credential options and three eligibility pathways.
- ARRT certification is an option for individuals who aspire to advance their careers. It is different from the state licensing exam, which may be required by a state.
- In some states, radiology professionals may be required to take an exam and secure a license to perform a job(1).
- ARRT certification requires professionals to meet ARRT’s qualifications. Applying for state licensure has different state requirements altogether.
ARRT Certification Overview
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is a credentialing organization that gives certification and registration in imaging, interventional procedures, and radiation therapy(2).
According to the ARRT website’s home page, the organization prioritizes patient care, healthcare, and the quality management of public health professionals. A background check is conducted on ARRT certification applicants.
Aside from professional competency, there are ethics requirements applicants need to adhere to in applying for ARRT certification. Sanctions and disciplinary actions are given to people who do not follow the guidelines.
ARRT certification aims to help people who work in medical imaging and radiation therapy advance their careers. Its purpose is to recognize qualified people to do a specific role in their field of radiologic sciences(3).
It may take three to five years to get an ARRT certification. This timeline includes two or four years of educational requirement and the 365-day window to schedule and complete the exam.
Benefits of ARRT Certification
Having an ARRT certification is a way to verify professional standards and ranks among trained professionals(4).
ARRT certification may be used as accreditation to confirm an individual’s ability and capacity to perform a task on the job.
Some employers require this certification to ensure that a registered radiology professional, such as a radiology technician, radiologic technologist, or radiographer, can provide high-quality patient care.
Radiologic technologists are sometimes called radiographers(5). They are medical practitioners in radiology who perform procedures similar to radiology technicians’ scope of practice(6).
Both radiology technicians and radiologic technologists operate the equipment needed to perform tests using X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scans, or mammograms(7).
However, the level of education is the primary difference between these professions.
Radiologic technologists or radiographers have four years of bachelor’s degree. While radiology technicians only completed one or two years of community college studying digital imaging equipment management(8).
Meanwhile, a radiologist is a medical doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases using CT scans, X-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging or MRI(9).
Radiology is a branch of science that involves providing diagnostic images of the tissue, organs, bones, and vessels of the body using ionizing radiation(10).
ARRT Credential Options
ARRT offers 13 credentials among the range of disciplines and pathways available in the ARRT certification program. Each of the coursework is led by a program director.
These credentials include the following:
- Bone densitometry
- Breast sonography
- Cardiac intervention radiography
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Nuclear medicine technology
- Radiation therapy
- Registered radiologist assistant (RRA)
- Vascular interventional radiography
- Vascular sonography.
Qualifications and Requirements for ARRT Certification
The qualifications for the ARRT certification application depend on the pathway an individual wants to pursue.
ARRT has three primary application processes, the primary eligibility pathway, the postprimary eligibility pathway, and the R.R.A credential.
All pathways require applicants to review the ARRT Standards of Ethics, a document detailing the organization’s code and ethics rules.
ARRT implements an ethics review to ensure that the applicant has an excellent moral character and is predisposed to putting patients’ safety and best interests above all else.
Primary Eligibility Pathway
This pathway is the entry-level ARRT credential earned by most individuals who apply. Completion of an ARRT-approved educational program is required for the primary eligibility pathway.
Nuclear medicine technology, Magnetic resonance, radiology, imaging radiation therapy, sonography, and vascular sonography are among the credentials earned in this pathway.
An associate degree or higher and the completed ARRT-approved educational program are required to apply for the primary eligibility pathway.
The associate degree must be earned in an ARRT-recognized institution or agency, and the ARRT-approved educational program must be in the same discipline as the pursued credential.
Postprimary Eligibility Pathway
The postprimary eligibility pathway applies to individuals who are already ARRT-certified. Those who want a continuing education may also pursue an additional credential.
Some of the credentials offered under this pathway include bone densitometry, breast sonography, cardiac interventional radiography, and computed tomography.
A supporting category is required to apply for this pathway. Applicants can opt to earn a credential through the ARRT, Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB), or the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
Sixteen hours of structured education that includes a test for the pursued discipline and at least one credit from the significant coursework categories are also required to apply for this pathway.
In addition to these educational requirements, a maximum of 24 months of clinical experience related to the pursued credential should be accomplished by the healthcare professional applicant.
These credentials include mammography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance, bone densitometry, cardiac interventional radiography, vascular interventional radiography, vascular sonography, and breast sonography.
The registered radiologist assistant (RRA) credential recognizes people qualified to do the duties of an RRA.
To pursue an RRA credential, individuals should complete a bachelor’s degree, an ARRT credential in radiography, an advanced educational program, and at least a year of professional patient-care clinical experience in radiography.
Verification of Credentials
The ARRT provides a license verification directory, the primary source of credential verification, which can be viewed on the ARRT website.
To be given verification using the ARRT letterhead, applicants should supply their date of birth, social security number, or ARRT ID.
For people applying for credential renewal, completion of the continuing education requirement is needed every two years.
The continuing qualifications requirements (CQR) must also be current to proceed with the renewal process.
How to Register for ARRT Certification?
The process of registration is one of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on ARRT certification.
Once the qualifications are met and the requirements are completed, applicants need to settle fees, like ARRT exam fees.
A $200 application fee is required for the primary and some postprimary pathway credentials. For most postprimary pathway credentials, $400 is needed for the certification exam.
ARRT-Administered State Licensing Exam
ARRT is one of the institutions that administer the state licensing exams. The organization conducts the tests at Pearson VUE test centers.
Some states require applicants to secure ARRT registration and certification to apply for the state licensing exam. However, the ARRT does not decide on the applicants’ work authorization. State rules and qualifications still apply(11).
State licensing exams and ARRT certification exams are different, and their requirements and qualifications vary.
For instance, state licensing exam applicants must submit their application forms directly to the state. They must also comply with the state’s guidelines.
Meanwhile, applicants seeking ARRT certification should adhere to the organization’s requirements.
Some states require individuals to pass a licensure exam to be a registered technologist. Various agencies cater to these technologist license applications.
The United States Department of Health advises people to visit the ARRT website at arrt.org or ARRT social media for announcements regarding the exam’s content specifications and applicant registration status.
Exam passers need to be mindful of the license’s expiration date and verify the state license once it is issued.
ARRT issues certifications to qualified individuals that meet the requirements of each credential.
The organization also administers state licensing examinations to individuals who are required to earn a state license to practice their profession.
- Hertz, N. R., Chinn, R. N., (n.d.) Licensure Examinations, retrieved from https://www.clearhq.org/resources/Licensure_examinations.htm#:~:text=The%20sole%20purpose%20of%20a,the%20success%20of%20licensed%20persons.
- Cambridge College of Health Care, (n.d.), WHat is ARRT and how do I get it?, retrieved from cambridgehealth.edu/blog/what-is-arrt-certification-and-how-do-i-get-it/#:~:text=The%20ARRT%20or%20the%20American,therapy%20to%20develop%20their%20careers.
- American Registry of Radiologic Technology, (nd.), What is ARRT certification and registration, retrieved from https://www.arrt.org/pages/about-the-profession/arrt-certification-and-registration
- Hertz, N. R., Op. Cit.
- All Allied Health Schools, (n.d.), What Roles are Available in Radiology Technology, retrieved from https://www.allalliedhealthschools.com/medical-imaging/careers-in-radiologic-technology/#:~:text=Technologists%2C%20also%20sometimes%20called%20radiographers,is%20their%20level%20of%20education
- Radiology Info, (nd.) What does a radiologist do?., retrieved from https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=article-your-radiologist#:~:text=Your%20radiologist%20is%20a%20medical,%2C%20fusion%20imaging%2C%20and%20ultrasound.
- Radiology Info, (n.d.), Glossary of Terms, retrieved from https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/glossary/browse-glossary.cfm?sTerm=R
- American Registry of Radiologic Technology, (n.d.), State Licensing, retrieved from https://www.arrt.org/pages/about-the-profession/state-licensing#:~:text=WHAT’S%20THE%20DIFFERENCE%20BETWEEN%20ARRT%20AND%20STATE%20LICENSING%3F&text=If%20you%20want%20to%20become,apply%20directly%20to%20that%20state.