October 7, 2015

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Exam

If you’re reading this it means you’re considering becoming certified in computed tomography or a related field through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). If you’re doing your research and learning what all is involved in the process, you’re discovering that it will take a lot of time, effort, and involve some cost. So you may be wondering if the whole process is worth it.

Here are some good reasons why you should become certified through ARRT and maintain that certification through the organization’s registration process.

Personal benefits

ARRT certification keeps your knowledge and skills current and fresh. One of the most important benefits of certification is that you’ll be required to have the knowledge to pass the initial certification exam. This exam is developed with the assistance of leading practitioners in the field, who encounter current challenges and new developments. This means that when you receive the certification you will be armed with the latest knowledge available. Then, in order to maintain your certification, you’ll need to complete 24 continuing education units. When you apply for annual registration, you’ll need to provide proof that you completed these units. That means that on a yearly basis you’ll have the opportunity to keep your knowledge and skills up to date.

Having certification gives you confidence in your abilities. You’ll be able to practice with assurance, knowing that you have the latest information and knowledge of developments, and you can work with your patients armed with this confidence.

Professional benefits

One of the primary reasons most medical professionals seek certification is that their employer requires it, or they want to be able to apply for a position with an employer that requires it. Keep in mind that state licensing is the only requirement that all employers will need. However, there are a growing number of employers that only hire professionals with ARRT certification. ARRT certification assures these employers that the technologists they hire adhere to high ethical standards and conduct. It also ensures employers that the technologist is knowledgeable in his or her area of specialty. While it can’t guarantee that you’ll get a position you’re going for, it can give you a competitive edge over other candidates who aren’t certified.

Another major benefit of earning your certification with ARRT is that you may also have a greater chance of being promoted. Earning and maintaining your certification proves your commitment to your profession as well as your knowledge of the field. Employers feel more comfortable promoting employees who demonstrate that level of commitment.

Also, it’s not just employers that appreciate certification. State licensing agencies and federal regulators view certification as evidence that the technician has met a national recognized standard for knowledge and abilities developed by leading practitioners in the field.
Potential Benefits

There are several benefits that you could realize in the future as a result of earning your certification. For example, you may be asked to act as a mentor to a new practitioner or student. You may also be asked to speak or write about your field at industry or employer events or trainings. Another potential benefit is that you may be asked to participate in research or studies. All of these would be possible due to your certification coupled with your experience and good standing in the field and on the job.

There are other benefits that come with being certified, but these are the ones that professionals most often cite as the ones that motivated them to seek certification. Since the certification and subsequent registration process is time consuming and requires some effort, you must do your research and evaluate whether it is the right thing to do for your career. Talk to other professionals who have achieved their certification before making the commitment to earn certification.

How ARRT certification affects state licensing

When you’re considering a profession as a medical imaging professional or radiologist assistance, in addition to receiving an education, you’ll also need to become licensed through your state. You should also consider becoming certified through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) based in St. Paul, Minnesota. In many states you can do both. However, the first thing you should know is that state licensing is very different from certification and registration from the ARRT. If you’re considering getting your certification in computed tomography (CT), you probably already know that this is considered a post-primary certification with the ARRT. That means you need to earn your certification in three primary areas before you can apply to take the CT exam: radiography, nuclear medicine technology, and radiation therapy. If you’ve already become certified in these three areas, most likely you’re already licensed by the state you practice in. If this isn’t the case, and you’re just starting out, then here’s the information you need to know about ARRT and state licensing.
Licensing is Earned through Your State

Becoming certified through ARRT is a completely voluntary decision. It is not required for you to get a job. However, it can give you a competitive edge over other candidates who haven’t earned certification. Licensing, however, is mandatory through the state you reside and practice in. Without having a license you will not be able to get a job or practice in your chosen field. To determine what your state requires to verify that you’re eligible to apply for a license, you’ll need to visit your state’s licensing website. Each state may have slightly different eligibility requirements. For example, some states require candidates to apply for a license before taking an exam, while others are only looking for a passing exam score.

And many states actually use an ARRT-administered exam as part of their credentialing process. In fact, 36 states in the United States use an ARRT-administered exam. You can find a list of these states by visiting the ARRT website. The other states still require that you apply for a license and take an exam; they just don’t use the ARRT-administered exam. This may seem a bit confusing. The ARRT as an organization cannot issue state licenses or credentials, even though a state may use an ARRT exam. You must keep all licensing and certification efforts totally separate, utilizing the application process for each one. Just because you apply for certification and live in a state that uses the exam for licensing doesn’t mean you’re registered with the state for a license, and vice versa. You must apply to both agencies for each item.
State Licensing versus Certification: You can get a license without certification

It’s important to keep in mind that you can’t use your state ARRT exam score to apply for certification with the ARRT. You will need to apply with the ARRT for certification and follow all of the same application guidelines as any other applicant.

States that use ARRT-administered exams classify applicants for licensing into two categories: (1) If you’re eligible to take both the state exam and the ARRT exam (and have applied to take both), you’re considered a “regular state examinee.” (2) If you’re not eligible or have decided not to take the ARRT exam, but are qualified to take the state exam, you’re considered a “special state examinee.”

The important thing to remember is that if you live in one of the states that use the ARRT-administered exam and you want to receive licensing and certification, you must complete the application process of both organizations—the state licensing agency and the ARRT. Make sure to follow all instructions and review application deadlines. In many instances you’ll be required to provide documentation of your education and training, and that may take several weeks to gather.

How to become certified and then registered with ARRT

The goal of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is to promote high quality patient care by certifying individuals involved in medical imaging, interventional procedures, and radiation therapy. The ARRT is governed by members of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) and the American College of Radiology (ACR). To earn certification, you must first meet educational requirements, ethical standards, and pass an examination. This is a one-time process. However, you will need to register with the ARRT on a yearly basis in order to maintain your certification.

How to become certified and then registered with ARRTAdditionally, candidates who are interested in becoming certified in computed tomography will need to earn and receive certification in three areas by the ARRT: radiography, nuclear medicine technology, and radiation therapy. First, here are more details about the certification and registration processes.

  • Certification comes first
    Anyone interested in gaining certification from ARRT needs to satisfy three eligibility requirements, according to the ARRT. These requirements are: ethics, education, and examination. When it comes to ethics, the ARRT publishes its Rules and Regulations and Standards of Ethics on the ARRT website. Candidates should review all of this material to ensure that he or she is in good standing. The candidate should also be prepared to state that he or she will abide by these rules and standards for as long as he or she is certified and registered with ARRT. The ARRT says it will investigate any potential violation of these rules and standards before a person is deemed eligible to become certified.

The second component, education, is satisfied in two ways. First, the candidate must complete a formal training program in his or her area of interest. The training program must be taken from an accredited agency recognized by the ARRT. In addition to completing a formal education program, the candidate must demonstrate that he or she is competent in didactic coursework as well as a list of specific clinical procedures. Competency in the clinical procedures can be demonstrated to the program directors or authorized faculty members at the school the candidate is attending. After both of these requirements have been fulfilled, the final eligibility requirement is taking the exam, which is developed and offered by the ARRT. The exam tests the candidate’s knowledge and cognitive skills in his or her chosen area of practice.

  • Then comes registration
    Once the candidate has satisfied all of the eligibility requirements and taken and passed the examination, he or she will need to maintain this certification through registration with the ARRT on a yearly basis. More details about registration and why it’s important are in another article on this site. For the purpose of this article, it’s important to note that you will need to reregister for certification each year through the ARRT. This process is not as time consuming as the certification process, but allows the ARRT to verify that you are continuing your education and abiding by the regulations and standards.
  • Taking the CT test
    The computed tomography test as considered a post-primary category of the ARRT. As already mentioned, this means you need to become registered/certified in the three primary areas listed earlier. Once you have these certifications, you are ready to take the CT test and earn that certification. There are no additional eligibility requirements for the CT test.

While becoming certified with the ARRT and maintaining your certification through the registration process can seem like a lot of time and effort, many people believe the benefits of being certified outweigh the work it took to become certified. Remember, the certification process is the longest. Once you’ve earned certification, reregistering your certification each year will seem much faster and easier.

Maintaining your registration, and why it’s important to do

Once you’ve taken the time, money, and effort to earn your certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) for computed tomography, it makes sense to keep your certification in good standing. The only way to do that is to register with the ARRT on a yearly basis.

Your certification will expire each year on your birthday, so you’ll need to begin preparing for the registration process about a month prior to that date. Keep in mind though, that as part of the registration process you’ll need to fulfill the continuing education requirement, so plan to take classes throughout the year prior to your birthday.

Why you should register

As already mentioned, the entire certification process is time-consuming, costs money, and takes a lot of effort on your part. Once you’ve earned certification, the registration process is not nearly as exhaustive as the certification process, and it is the only way to ensure that you can maintain your certification.

Maintaining your certification may be required by your employer. Employers prefer candidates who are certified because of the ethical guidelines certified professionals are required to abide by through the ARRT. In addition, employers know that certified professionals have the knowledge and skills needed to perform the work. While registering with the ARRT on a yearly basis can seem like a lot of time and effort, it is worthwhile for these reasons.

How the registration process works

In order to apply for registration, you need to prove your eligibility, like you did to apply for certification. You will need to provide proof that you’ve continued to comply with all of the ARRT’s ethical standards and regulations. You will also need to provide documentation that you’ve fulfilled the continuing education requirement. The ARRT gives complete details of CE requirements on its website. In general, most registration applicants are required to take 24 CE units or become certified in a post-primary area. Once you’ve provided this material to the ARRT, along with payment for registration, you’ll receive confirmation from the organization that your registration is in process.

If you’re specifically applying for registration for computed tomography certification, a post-primary credential, you’ll also need to maintain your registration in at least one of the primary areas you became certified in to pursue the CT designation. That means you must maintain your certification in radiography, nuclear medicine technology, or radiation therapy. Fortunately, registration is much less costly than certification. To register in a primary category, you’ll pay $20.00, and then each additional registration category costs $12.00.

The ARRT board of trustees reviews all of the registration applications and approves them. If they feel any application doesn’t meet requirements, it will be turned down.

If you don’t apply for renewal by the middle of your birth month, the ARRT will send you a postcard to remind you to register. Radiologic technologists can register and pay online. All other certificate holders will need to mail in their registration applications no later than the last day of their birth month. The ARRT looks at the postmark on the envelope to determine whether the mailing deadline has been met. The ARRT advises all certificate holders that it is not responsible for any mail problems that might occur, such as a lost application or delivery to an incorrect address.

Letting your certification lapse

If you’re unable to apply for registration by the deadline, your certification will lapse. The good news is, however, that doesn’t mean you have to go through the certification process all over again. It does mean you’ll have to submit an application for reinstatement and pay a reinstatement fee, which is $75.00.

The best way to ensure a smooth registration process is to plan to fulfill the CE requirement throughout the year, and then apply for renewal about three weeks before the deadline.