Radiologic Tech in Texas

How to Become a Radiologic Technologist in Texas

Providing invaluable assistance to doctors, dentists and other medical professionals, Radiologic Technologists (RTs) perform imaging exams of patients with complex problems to those with minor complaints for diagnostic purposes.  The use of these visual aids is a critical part of clearly understanding the condition and treatment options for patients.

Education, Training and Certification

Schools with Radiology Programs

    Concorde Career College
    20 month Radiologic Technology Associate Degree Program for those seeking entry level positions in the field.

    • Dallas, Grand Prairie, San Antonio


    FORTIS College
    Prepares students for entry level Radiology Tech jobs. Career services supports grads in their job hunting.

    • Grand Prairie, Houston


    Houston Community College
    2 year Associate of Applied Science, Enhanced Skills Certificate Radiographer program. AART certified.

    • Houston, Missouri City, Stafford


    Lone Star College

    The Medical Radiologic Technology Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is a two-year program that equips students with the skills to perform radiographic examinations, provide patient care, and assist radiologists during diagnostic procedures. The program includes 63 credit hours of coursework, combining state-of-the-art lab practice and supervised clinical experiences. Graduates are prepared to pursue Advanced Technical Certificates in Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

    The Computed Tomography Advanced Technical Certificate (ATC) is a four-month program available to those who have completed an AAS degree in Radiologic Technology, Radiation Therapy, or Nuclear Medicine. The curriculum includes 16 credit hours, with 8 credit hours of online didactic courses and 8 credit hours of clinical education at affiliated sites. The program is supported by experienced faculty and staff at LSC-Montgomery.

    The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Advanced Technical Certificate (ATC) is a 12-month post-associate degree program designed for certified and state-licensed technologists. It provides didactic and clinical instruction focused on MRI technology, preparing students for the post-primary certification examination in MRI by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

    • Houston


    North Central Texas College
    The Radiological Technology program at offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Radiology, which can be completed in as little as two years. Radiologic technologists are trained to use x-ray equipment to create diagnostic images under the supervision of a physician, with opportunities for further education and cross-training. The program is held on the Gainesville campus and includes classroom instruction, skills labs, and clinical practicums at local hospitals. Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and may qualify for licensure by the Texas Medical Board.

    • Denton


    Pima Medical Institute
    24 month on campus Radiography Associate Degree Program studying anatomy and physiology and radiographic techniques. Online Bachelors of Science also available.

    • El Paso, Houston, San Antonio


    The College of Health Care Professions
    Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist with MA Skills program. Hybrid format. 58 weeks or 5 1/2 months.

    • Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, McAllen, San Antonio


    Wharton County Junior College
    JRCERT accredited program that readies students for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam.

    • Wharton, Richmond, Sugar Land, Bay City


There are a few different paths to becoming an RT.  You can enroll in and attend a hospital based program and earn a certificate, attend a 2-year college program and earn your associate’s degree, or attend a 4-year college and earn a bachelor’s degree.

If you are looking for the quickest way to get into the field of radiology, pursuing a basic certificate may be the best way for you to start.  However, the most common path involves earning an associate’s degree.

It is not necessary to complete a bachelor’s program in order to become an RT, however doing so will help you to further advance your career and take on a supervisory role and interpret data for diagnosis.

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost to complete a two-year program and obtain a certificate or an associate’s degree in Radiologic Technology ranges from approximately $5,800 to $35,000 depending on resident status (in-state or out-of-state) and whether it is a public or private institution.

What Do You Study?

Education for an X-ray technician will include core classes such as basic anatomy, physiology, medical ethics, and medical terminology, and more specific courses such as x-ray technology, image quality, x-ray equipment operation, patient care principles, patient positioning techniques, medical records management, and x-ray safety.

Radiologic technology programs also provide students with hands-on training necessary to begin employment.  This provides students with the opportunity to train under the supervision of an experienced technician while working with patients and interacting with other medical professionals.

Certification

In accordance with the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), Texas requires specific education and experience to earn license.

The following highlights requirements for license options in Texas;

Temporary certificate

  • High school graduate or the equivalent
  • Graduate (or within 28 calendar days of graduating) from an accredited or approved education program in radiologic technology

General or Limited Certificate

  • Qualify for and hold a temporary certificate
  • Graduate from an accredited education program in radiologic technology or an approved limited medical radiologic technology program Pass an examination approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services

Non-Certified Technicians (NCTs)

The Medical Radiologic Technologist Certification Program in Texas maintains a registry of individuals who have completed an approved NCT training program.

Per the Texas Department of State Health Services, non-certified technicians (NCTs) are defined as persons performing radiologic procedures (x-rays) for medical purposes, who are not TDSHS-certified medical radiologic technologists (MRTs) or limited medical radiologic technologists (LMRTs).  These individuals are not allowed to perform dangerous or hazardous radiologic procedures.

ARRT-logoBecause the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) administered exams are the exam approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services for licensing, you should look for and enroll in a radiologic technologist program at an accredited institution that will prepare you for this exam.

Earning a certificate, from certain schools, in radiology or an associate’s degree will get you into the field and prepare you for the ARRT exam.  ARRTs website lists 45 accredited radiography schools in the state of Texas.

After graduating from an accredited program and earning temporary licensure, individuals can pursue certification through the ARRT, which is required for state licensing.  This certification ensures that technicians have the qualifications to conduct medical imaging tests.

The exam features 200 questions and covers topics involving radiation protection, equipment operation, image acquisition, imaging procedures and patient care.  The ARRT and American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) web sites have information that will help you decide what to study prior to the exam.

RTs are required to complete 24 hours of continuing medical education every 2 years for re-certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

There is an increasing trend in which employers are requiring ARRT certification as a condition of employment.  This trend has caused many schools to adjust their training and certification program curriculum in order to prepare students to take the ARRT exam.

Salary

Median earnings of radiologic technologists in select regional areas:

Area Name Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Abilene 28.7 59690
Amarillo 29.5 61350
Austin-Round Rock 34.46 71690
Beaumont-Port Arthur 28.14 58530
Big Thicket 28.43 59130
Border Region 30.12 62650
Brownsville-Harlingen 25.9 53860
Coastal Plains 29.04 60400
College Station-Bryan 29.94 62280
Corpus Christi 30.85 64170
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 33.8 70300
El Paso 30.53 63510
Hill Country R 30.77 64010
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, 33.31 69280
Killeen-Temple 30.17 62750
Laredo 28.48 59250
Longview 30.26 62950
Lubbock 30.77 64010
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission 26.18 54460
North Texas 30.3 63020
Odessa 32.03 66620
San Antonio-New Braunfels 32.63 67880
Sherman-Denison 30.46 63360
Texarkana 29.15 60640
Tyler 30.66 63780
Victoria 30.32 63060
Waco 31.27 65050
West Texas 30.74 63930
Wichita Falls 26.12 54330

Occupation:Radiologic Technologists and Technicians (SOC Code292034); Period:May 2022
source: data.bls.gov

Career Overview

The term Radiologic Technologist is an umbrella term used to represent a wide variety of technologists in the medical field:

  • Bone Densitometry Technologists
  • Cardiovascular-Interventional Technologists
  • Computed Tomography Technologists
  • Magnetic Resonance Technologists
  • Mammographers
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists
  • Quality Management Technologists
  • Radiographers
  • Sonographers

Each of these titles implies a different specialty, with Radiographers representing the entry level position to Radiologic Technology.

What Kind of Personality Should They Have?

It is imperative that a Radiologic Technologist show a calm, professional and helpful demeanor.

One of the most difficult elements of a RTs job is to keep calm and display an unaffected demeanor when they see something that concerns them in the images that they take.  This is where a maintaining a professional attitude becomes very important.

When a patient arrives for imaging, they may be anxious and think or expect the worst.  For this reason, strength of character and compassion are also very important and critical characteristics for an RT to possess.

Generally working as part of a team, RTs must also have strong interpersonal skills, easily and comfortably communicating with staff as well as patients.   Maintaining a professional attitude and addressing the concerns of patients without entering into diagnosis conversations can be a challenge.

Individuals who enter this career field can expect to work in a variety of different environments.   RTs are employed in hospitals, doctor’s offices, walk-in clinics, imaging centers, nursing homes and dentistry facilities.  Some are trained to work in the emergency room or to be a part of the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) team.

Work Schedule

The type of schedule and hours that you work will depend greatly on where you work.  If you work in a hospital or emergency room that need to be staffed 24 hours a day you can expect to work a variety of shifts.  These shifts can include night shifts, weekends, and holidays.  Those who work in a doctor’s office or imaging center can expect to work a normal Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm shift without weekends, evenings or being on call.

What Do They Do?


The basic duties of an RT include;

  • Preparing patients for the procedure by explaining to them how it works and ensuring that they are comfortable
  • Position patients and set up and adjust equipment to obtain the best quality x-ray of the specific body area requested by the physician
  • Taking preventative steps to minimize radiation exposure to the patient and fellow staff
  • Prepare and set up x-ray room for patients
  • Position x-ray equipment and adjust controls to set exposure factors, such as time and distance
  • Assure that all materials and other required equipment, are present and in working order
  • Process films using film processors or computer generated methods
  • Clean the necessary equipment
  • Keep accurate patient files

RTs may specialize in general radiography or in specific imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), mammography, or sonography to name a few.

An RT cannot discuss image results with patients or issue diagnosis.  Instead, they will tell the patient when they will be notified about the results by a radiologist or their doctor.  If the Radiologic Technologist notices a problem that is considered an emergency, they notify a radiologist immediately.  Respecting the proper lines of communication are a must in the medical imaging field.

Career Outlook

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, employment in the field of Radiologic Technology is projected to grow faster than average.  Individuals with knowledge of more than one diagnostic imaging procedure will have the best employment opportunities.

It is expected that many new positions will become available in Texas hospitals.  However, even more growth in anticipated in medical offices, clinics, and diagnostic medical imaging centers.

This trend is occurring in part because of the national push to reduce health care costs.  Imaging centers, clinics and medical offices provide an outpatient setting for RT procedures, therefore reducing costs.  Also, as the diagnostic imaging technology becomes cheaper to produce, these outpatient facilities will become more prevalent.

The field of radiology presents many interesting paths and advancement opportunities.  Once you have been in the field for a while you may decide to learn other aspects of the radiology profession and become certified in a specialty.  Many medical imaging professionals began as radiologic technologists or medical assistants and then became cross trained or certified to perform additional procedures.

Some even worked their way up to radiologist assistant positions.  RTs familiar with a variety of imaging techniques will have a distinct advantage when it comes to advancement.

Advice from the Inside

Some information cannot be found on the internet or in a book.  That information is the valuable insight that can only be gained by talking with someone who has followed a path to becoming a radiologic technologist and held a position as a Radiologic Technologist and beyond.

asrt-logoKevin Powers, Ed.S., R.T.(R)(M), ASRT’s director of education shared his thoughts on this exciting career and what he offers as some important things to remember as you begin.

“Nothing is ever really standard in this profession.  There are a lot of routine things, but each patient is different and each procedure provides you with a slightly different challenge – there is always an opportunity for learning to occur.  It is a thinking profession and has the potential of holding your interest for a long time,” says Powers.

The career of an RT can be a very fulfilling one in many different ways.

“The skills that someone develops in terms of being able to communicate with patients – being able to make them feel comfortable, the written communication skills, organization and management skills,” says Powers, “all help the individual to develop a range of skills or characteristics that will benefit them throughout their entire career.”

He adds, “Whether they decide to stay in medical imaging or pursue an alternative career such as management, education, or even sales – their experience provides them with a well rounded tool set that are valuable in many different areas of healthcare.  In no way is it a career that will limit someone in terms of their career aspirations, advancement, and promotion.”

The ability to communicate and put patients at ease is extremely important.

“Often times what happens in the imaging department, the first thing we do is take the patients identity away from them.  We have them change into the gown and then they become just the elbow, or the knee or shoulder.  They become the procedure as opposed to the individual.  Many times the patient doesn’t know what to expect.  When the individual that is performing the procedure has the ability to connect with the patient, make them feel comfortable, and really help communicate to them what is needed for the exam it makes for an overall better experience.  In many cases doing so goes a long way to producing an image that is of very high diagnostic value – which is important to the RT.  Within any radiology department when images are looked at for evaluation or review, there is a lot of personal pride that people have when it is their image on the display and the image looks outstanding.”

When reflecting on his own start in this career, Powers commented, “initially the pathway you enter on seems overwhelming.  There is so much to learn, areas where you may make mistakes.  But once you understand the process and once you get comfortable with managing that process it really makes you much more receptive or open to those fun things, those unique experiences that make everyday rewarding.”

For students that start out as general radiographers and decide that they want to learn more and advance within their field, Powers offers up the following; “Be sensitive to what you can offer the radiological team in terms of value added when wanting to make a transition.  Ask to gain experience working with the CT unit on your own time or on weekends or holidays.  Come up with create ways to earn the experience.  This way you are leaning, getting to collaborate with your peers and it becomes a win-win situation.”

Keep in mind that like any other career, there is a social aspect to this field – a group identity or profile that sometimes people find it difficult to fit in and feel comfortable with.

For his own students, Powers recommends “to focus on and align yourself with the people that have your personal interest in mind.  Those who are willing to share with you the things they rely upon –the little anchors that help them to be accurate at what they are doing.  Model yourself after the people that you admire and seek out the people that have your personal interest in mind.  Don’t worry about trying to fit into that social setting because that is fleeting.”

Lastly Powers wants students to remember that over the course of their career they will go through “high-tide and low-tide periods.”

Sometimes you will be successful at doing things the first time and then you will have times where you feel like everything is out of control.

“The peripheral stuff will dominate – it is during that time that you have to figure out a way to be self confident and focus on the things that will benefit you in the long run.  Remember to take opportunities at various periods in your career to look back at what you have learned and how far you have come.  Celebrate that success along the way.”