As the world’s largest credentialing organization for medical imaging and radiation therapy, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) ensures that individuals adhere to high-quality patient care standards. Established in November of 1922 by Sister M. Beatrice Merrigan who became the country’s first registered technologist (R.T.). Today the ARRT promotes high standards of patient care and recognizes qualified individuals dealing with radiation therapy, medical imaging, and interventional procedures. Employers, federal regulators, and state licensing agencies use ARRT certification as an indication that individuals fulfilled national standards for professionals in these industries. The ARRT registers and certifies applicants in 17 different disciplines.
Individuals interested in pursuing ARRT certification can pursue three separate pathways, each dependent upon their education obtained and certification sought. Candidates must fulfill these education requirements to be eligible for the ARRT certification exam. The three pathways include the following:
- Primary Pathway
Those seeking certification in radiography, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine technology, sonography, or magnetic resonance imaging must have successfully completed an educational program acceptable to the ARRT within the last three years. As of January 1, 2015, certification must be earned after the academic degree is completed. You must also demonstrate competency in didactic coursework and clinical procedures prior to taking the certification exam.
- Post-Primary Pathway
Those pursuing certification in bone densitometry, sonography, breast sonography, vascular sonography, vascular-interventional radiography, mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, quality management, and computed tomography must have primary pathway registration with the ARRT within the specific discipline. Beginning January 1, 2016, you must document completion of 16 hours of structured education.
- Physician Extender
This certification is for those interested in becoming registered radiologist assistants (RRA). You must be certified and registered in radiography in addition to completing a radiologist assistant (RA) educational program.
If you wish to obtain certification you also adhere to specific ethics requirements. The ARRT states that candidates must have good moral character and not engage in conduct inconsistent with its rules and regulations. This includes felonies, misdemeanors, and criminal procedures resulting in a plea of guilty or no contest. Candidates must disclose if they have any registration, license, or certification that was subjected to discipline by a certification board or regulatory authority other than the ARRT. For those pursuing a primary pathway, the ARRT must determine if you have violated any honor codes while in school.
Upon fulfilling education and ethics requirements, you may sit for the ARRT exam, which assesses your skills and knowledge within your selected discipline. Individual program directors hold primary pathway candidate applications, while the certification handbooks are found online. Post-primary pathway candidates may submit applications and payment online or mail their applications and payment up to three months prior to their anticipated graduation date. All photos and signatures on the application form must occur within six months prior to the date the AART receives the application. Candidates have three attempts to pass the exam and must complete these three opportunities within a three-year window.
Certification vs. Registration
ARRT certification precedes ARRT registration. Certification means that you have satisfied the education, ethics, and exam standards. After fulfilling these, you may sit and pass the ARRT certification exam which varies in expiration based upon the chosen specialty. Registration is an annual occurrence and requires a payment. For registration, you must meet continuing education requirements. Completed certification and yearly registration allows you to use the R.T. credential next to your name.
Renewal & Maintenance
AART registration renewal lasts until the end of your next birth month, unless that period is less than two months. To qualify for renewal, you must comply with the ARRT’s rules and regulations as well as its standards of ethics. You may also be required to fulfill 24 continuing education credits every other year. Registration requires an annual fee of $25 for the first discipline and $15 each for any others; post-primary disciplines are $40 for one discipline and $15 each for others.