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How to Become a California Certified Radiologic Technologist

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For most people, the ability to obtain super powers is something to fantasize about, but in some cases, a dedication to training and education can make it a reality. Professionals employed in the radiologic technology field learn to see inside the human body, using medical equipment to aid their “powers.” Although certification is not required to obtain a position as a radiologic technologist, pursing those voluntary credentials may give the applicant a boost when applying to jobs in the California area and beyond.

Determine where to attend radiologic technologist training. A minimum two-year associate degree program is required, but attending a school in California is not required, as degrees are transferable. Visit the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists to find schools accredited for radiologic technology. As of June 2011, 36 schools within California offered accredited programs.

Review the school’s website or speak with an admissions counselor to check your eligibility and prepare an application packet. For example, applicants to the program at Pasadena City College must have already completed courses in intermediate college algebra, physiology, medical terminology and physics, along with having a 2.0 GPA. Pasadena also prefers students who have volunteered at a medical imaging facility.

Enroll in and complete an associate degree program of courses such as those on the Los Angeles City Community College roster: radiographic anatomy and positioning of the skeletal system, radiation protection, radiographic mathematics, fundamentals of X-ray physics and radiographic exposure and technique. Many schools, including Los Angeles City Community College, require students to complete a practicum in clinical settings for hands on experience.

Keep the goal of certification in mind. The certifying agency, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, has stringent ethics requirements, and may disqualify prospective technologists with felony crimes, court martials, misdemeanors and drug and alcohol convictions.

Complete the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists’ ethics review pre-application packet six months before graduating. This may speed the certification process.

Complete school requirements and graduate. Submit an application packet to take the American Registry’s certification exam. Include an application fee and any requested photos, transcripts and signatures.

Locate a testing center to take the exam. If testing in California, which uses the ARRT exam for certification, five exam centers are available: Fresno, Milpitas, Oakland, Roseville and Sacramento.

Complete the exam, which has a total of 220 items – 20 are unscored, with a total test taking time of four hours. Await results, which may take approximately two to three weeks.

Add certification information to your resume. When going on an interview, make a photocopy of your certification credentials to have ready to supply to the hiring manager and include it in your interview notes.

Check both the national job search aggregator websites and ones closer to home such as the California Department of Public Health, searching for positions for radiologic technicians close to your zip code.