X-ray Tech Schools in California

  • California produces the United States’ largest health care expenditures based on the state of residence(1). Thus, the demand in the health sciences sector for related occupations may affect the job opportunities for X-ray technicians and technologists. 
  • In California, becoming a licensed radiologic technologist includes passing the state exam or the national exam through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)(2).

  • California is the leading U.S. state in terms of radiologic technicians and technologists’ employment(3). X-ray technicians and technologists may have more employment opportunities as related occupations. 
  • X-ray technicians’ and technologists’ job potential opportunities in California may include Kaiser Permanente, University of California, Department of Veterans Affairs, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and Saint Francis Hospital. 

Top X-Ray Technician Schools in California

California has the United States’ largest health care expenditures by the state of residence(4). This factor may affect the availability of healthcare positions, including X-ray technicians and technologists.

Here are some of the radiological technology (RT) schools in California that the industry may consider as among the top options(5):

  • Antelope Valley College    
  • Bakersfield College    
  • Cabrillo College    
  • California Baptist University    
  • California State University-Northridge    
  • Cañada College    
  • Casa Loma College-Van Nuys    
  • CBD College    
  • Chaffey College    
  • Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science    
  • City College of San Francisco    
  • Cosumnes River College    
  • Crafton Hills College    
  • Cypress College    
  • El Camino Community College District    
  • Foothill College    
  • Fresno City College    
  • Lincoln University    
  • Loma Linda University (Associate’s)    
  • Loma Linda University (Bachelor’s)    
  • Long Beach City College    
  • Los Angeles City College    
  • Merced College    
  • Merritt College    
  • Moorpark College    
  • Mt. San Antonio College    
  • Mt. San Jacinto College-Menifee    
  • National University    
  • Orange Coast College    
  • Pasadena City College    
  • San Diego Mesa College    
  • San Diego State University    
  • San Joaquin Delta College    
  • Santa Barbara City College    
  • Santa Rosa Junior College    
  • University of California-Irvine    
  • University of California-San Diego    
  • Yuba College    

List of X-ray Tech Programs in California

Here are some of the X-ray tech programs that some California schools offer(6)

Cabrillo College 

Cabrillo College offers a two-year radiologic technology (RT) program that provides an Associate of Science (AS) in Radiologic Technology

This school strives to prepare students to work in clinics, private medical practices, and hospitals.  

The program combines classroom and clinical work to provide students with the necessary skills for working as radiologic technicians or technologists.  

Students may take courses such as diagnostic imaging, medical imaging pathology, fluoroscopy, and mammography

Cañada College 

Cañada College offers students an AS in RT that strives to include the basic skills necessary to work as a radiologic technologist. The school’s 25-month program includes three summer sessions.

The program may require students to take physics, radiographic positioning, radiation protection, biology, and advanced imaging. 

The curriculum also provides students with clinical education. It occurs at various affiliated clinical sites like Kaiser Permanente, Sequoia Health Services, and Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital.

The California Department of Public Health’s radiation health branch and the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) has accredited the college’s radiologic technology program

California State University (Northridge)

California State University at Northridge permits students to earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in radiologic technology. Through the bachelor’s degree, the program aims to help make students proficient in areas such as:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Cardiovascular imaging
  • Mammography 
  • Interventional radiology

In the concluding two years of the four-year undergraduate program, students must complete a clinical rotation requirement at a university affiliate, such as the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center.  

Following graduation, individuals may apply for entry-level positions as technicians or technologists.  

Chaffey College 

Chaffey College offers a two-year RT program resulting in an AS degree that blends clinical work with traditional classroom education at local hospitals.  

Before the students’ second year, they may be required to spend most of the week on clinical assignments. Students can secure hands-on experience in:

  • Operating imaging equipment 
  • Processing and exposing images 
  • Positioning patients 

Graduates may be prepared to take the ARRT exam and the California Radiologic Technologist Fluoroscopy Permit (CRTP) exam.

Foothill College 

Students who complete Foothill College’s RT program earn an AS in radiologic technology. This full-time program requires students to attend classes on campus or at local hospitals during the week.   

The program requires students to attend classroom lectures, complete lab work, and complete on-site clinical simulations. A medical professional at a local hospital supervises students.  

This program aims to provide students with experience in traditional film imaging and innovative digital technology. 

X-Ray Technician Program vs. Radiology Technologist Program

While individuals sometimes use the positions “X-ray technician” and “X-ray technologist” interchangeably, some differences exist(7):

  • The healthcare industry often classifies X-ray technologists as healthcare professionals, while it generally does not classify X-ray technicians similarly.
  • X-rach technicians may prepare patients and X-ray equipment, including tasks like maintaining or repairing X-ray equipment. 
  • X-ray technologists generally interact more with patients, such as by taking X-ray photos.  
  • X-ray technologists typically must complete coursework in medical subjects such as human anatomy and physiology. These professionals may also require ARRT certification. 
  • X-ray technicians less frequently are required to meet such educational criteria.   
  • X-ray-focused websites may incorrectly refer to courses for X-ray technologists as ones for X-ray technicians

Steps to Become a Radiologic Technologist in California

A radiologic technologist and MRI technologist generally must earn an associate’s degree to work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(8)

Many U.S. states require radiologic technologists to secure licensing and certification. Additionally, employers often prefer to hire certified technologists. 

California residents may ponder how to become a radiologic technologist, including individuals residing in cities and towns such as:

  • Aptos 
  • Chula Vista 
  • Costa Mesa 
  • Lancaster
  • Los Altos Hills 
  • Marysville 
  • Oakland 
  • Rancho Cucamonga 
  • Torrance

Here are some guidelines for becoming radiologic technicians or technologists in California(9)

Step 1: Select an ARRT-accredited school 

This step is often a step in state licensing. 

Step 2: Complete clinical coursework 

This criterion can provide real-world skills in working with X-ray equipment.

Step 3: Start the licensing process

Part of the licensing process in California includes passing the national exam through the ARRT or the state exam. 

Step 4: Renew license 

California radiologic technologists must renew their licenses every two years. They can accomplish this task by completing 24 education hours within two years.  

California requires students to complete some hours in digital radiography. 

Individuals may earn certification in particular radiological areas. Examples include mammography and densitometry through a certificate program

The time required to become an X-ray tech in California or complete an accredited certification program may be two years(10)

Individuals may then take state certification exams, qualifying them to work as Certified Radiologic Technologists (CRTs) in California.   

The timeframe for completing schooling for radiologic technology credentials may include:

  • Certificate programs: One to two years
  • Associate’s degree program: Two years
  • Bachelor’s degree program: Four years
  • Master’s degree program: Two years 

X-ray technicians or technologists may require similar timeframes to complete schooling due to the related fields. 

Goals and Objectives 

Individuals selecting an X-ray tech school in California should consider a prospective school’s goals and objectives. 

For example, here are some goals and objectives that apply to one California school(11):   

Students Demonstrate Clinical Competence

Key outcomes include students’ ability to:

  • Properly position patients for radiographic procedures
  • Practice radiation protection 
  • Provide quality patient care

Exhibiting Professionalism

Key outcomes include students’ ability to:

  • Make ethical decisions 
  • Display professional work ethic
  • Describe lifelong learning’s benefits
  • Demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills

Demonstrating Critical Thinking Skills

Key outcomes include students’ ability to:

  • Accommodate non-routine patients
  • Critique X-ray images for diagnostic quality 
  • Demonstrate the relationship between image quality and technical factors

Accreditations

Individuals pursuing formal training in radiologic technology may seek an accredited program

Here are some of the critical benefits of accreditation on educational institutions(12).

Sets Standards of Excellence 

Accreditation provides a means that educational institutes can evaluate each other. 

For instance, accreditation can help radiologic technology programs set standards of excellence for which schools can aspire. Schools can help maintain industry goals and standards. 

Grants Students State and Federal Financial Aid

California schools must have accreditation to receive financial aid from federal and state resources. 

Students can learn more through the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC): www.csac.ca.gov

Allows Students Improved Transfer of Credits

Accreditation helps improve credit transfers between California schools, such as colleges. An example is master’s programs that accept higher education credits from undergraduate programs. 

In addition, certification boards typically require students to graduate from accredited schools to write their licensing exams. 

Assures Students of Quality Programs

Individuals may consider whether an X-ray tech school has secured national accreditation, including JRCERT accreditation. 

JRCERT accreditation may assure students and graduates that their education program provides the necessary knowledge, skills, and values that employers nationwide seek(13). 

Individuals can learn more at www.jrcert.org

Tuition and Other Expenses

The total costs of schooling for X-ray technicians and X-ray technologists can vary. Typical expenses may include tuition, books, and fees such as room and board.

When reviewing the advertised cost for an X-ray tech school, individuals should determine whether it includes other expenses aside from tuition. 

The net price of attending radiologic tech schools in California may include(14):

  • Bakersfield College: $6,645
  • City College of San Francisco: $5,479
  • Los Angeles City College: $7,360
  • San Diego State University: $13,363
  • University of California (Irvine): $13,944

Financial Aid

Individuals, including recent high school graduates, may seek financial aid resources to help complete their schooling to become X-ray technicians or technologists. 

Potential sources of financial aid for X-ray technicians and technologists in California include(15):  

Government Financial Aid 

Students must fully complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. In some cases, students may complete FAFSA while initiating the application process for X-ray tech schools.   

Federal financial aid includes funds for students returning to school and continuing their education. In addition, federal aid is available for various income ranges and backgrounds. 

Grants

Entities typically provide grants based on students’ financial needs, and individuals sometimes refer to them as “gift aid” as the grant providers do not require repayment.  

Scholarships

Scholarships are another type of gift aid as providers do not require recipients to repay them. However, unlike grants, scholarships are typically merit-based rather than needs-based.  

Students may qualify for scholarships based on various factors, including academic or athletic achievement. 

Loans

Loan providers include government and private sources. However, unlike grants and scholarships, students must repay loans.  

Individuals may find loans with low interest rates and flexible repayment options. 

Other Factors to Consider

When selecting an X-ray tech school, here are other factors to consider:

  • Completion Rate: The percentage of first-year students that graduate from a program 
  • Pass Rate: The percentage of students that graduate during any particular semester
  • Job Placement Rate: The percentage of graduates that start entry-level jobs in the careers for which their schools trained them.  
  • Majors: Examples include sonography 

What Exactly Is an X-ray Technician?

An X-ray technician’s duties and responsibilities include creating X-ray images of medical patients’ internal anatomy to assist physicians in diagnosing illnesses, diseases, and injuries(16)

Typical responsibilities of X-ray technicians may include(17)

  • Using X-ray equipment to produce radiographic images of patients’ tissues, bones, and organs 
  • Reviewing doctors’ orders
  • Explaining X-ray procedures to medical patients
  • Positioning, lifting, and moving patients 
  • Limiting patients’ exposure to radiation 
  • Collaborating with radiologists
  • Preventing duplicate X-ray procedures
  • Producing high-quality X-ray images 
  • Keeping accurate records of completed X-rays
  • Maintaining X-ray equipment  
  • Reporting malfunctioning X-ray equipment  
  • Verifying patients’ identities 

Career Opportunities

After students complete their training as radiologic technicians or technologists, they may work in California cities, such as: 

  • Los Angeles 
  • San Francisco 
  • Sacramento 
  • San Diego 

RT graduates may also qualify for various types of positions, including a radiographer. Radiographers, or “medical imaging technologists,” take medical images such as X-rays to assist doctors in diagnosing injuries and diseases(18).  

Salaries and Job Outlook for X-ray Technicians

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the projected national job growth (2020-2030) for radiologic and MRI technologists is 9%, as high as the natural average(19).

The median yearly salary for radiologic technicians and technologists in California is $95,170, and the mean hourly salary is $45.75, according to the BLS(20). Among the U.S. states, California has the highest employment level of 18,290 radiologic technologists and technicians.  

As of May 21, 2022, an X-ray technician in California may make an average annual base salary of $75,624 and the average hourly base salary may be $33.05(21).

However, various factors such as an individual’s education, experience, certifications, and location may impact their earning potential. 

Radiologic technologists and technicians in California may work in various hospitals and companies in the state that require such employees, including(22):

  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) 
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Concentra
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Dignity Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Saint Francis Hospital

University of California (UC Health)


  1. Health Care Expenditures by State of Residence (in millions)
    https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/health-care-expenditures-by-state-of-residence-in-millions/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
  2. Radiology Schools in California
    https://www.radiology-schools.com/radiology-schools-state/california.html
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, Radiologic Technologists:
    https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292034.htm
  4. Health Care Expenditures by State of Residence (in millions)
    https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/health-care-expenditures-by-state-of-residence-in-millions/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
  5. Radiology Technologist Schools and Careers in California
    https://www.radiologyschools411.com/california/
  6. Radiology Technologist Schools and Careers in California
    https://www.radiologyschools411.com/california/
  7. X-Ray Technologist vs. X-Ray Technician: What’s the Difference?
    https://www.x-rayschools.net/articles/x-ray-technologist-vs-x-ray-technician/index.html
  8. 8 Radiologic and MRI Technologists
    https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm
  9. Radiology Technologist Schools and Careers in California
    https://www.radiologyschools411.com/california/
  10. Radiologic technology
    https://deltacollege.edu/program/radiologic-technology
  11. Program Goals & Student Learning Outcomes:
    https://ucblueash.edu/academics/majors/health-care/radiologic/goals.html
  12. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
    https://www.jrcert.org/
  13. Radiology Technologist Schools and Careers in California
    https://www.radiologyschools411.com/california/
  14. Radiology Technologist Schools and Careers in California
    https://www.radiologyschools411.com/california/
  15. How to Get Financial Aid for X-Ray Technician School in California
    https://mtschool.edu/how-to-get-financial-aid-for-x-ray-technician-school-in-california/
  16. X-Ray Technician Job Description
    https://www.betterteam.com/x-ray-technician-job-description
  17. X-Ray Technician Job Description
    https://www.betterteam.com/x-ray-technician-job-description
  18. What is a radiographer? What is a radiologist?
    https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/what-is-a-radiographer-what-is-a-radiologist
  19. Radiologic and MRI Technologists
    https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm
  20. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, Radiologic Technologists:
    https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292034.htm
  21. X-ray Technician salary in California
    https://www.indeed.com/career/x%20ray-technician/salaries/CA
  22. Radiology Technologist Schools and Careers in California
    https://www.radiologyschools411.com/california/

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