How Hard Is Radiology Tech School?

If you’ve ever wondered how hard radiology tech school is, this blog post is for you. We’ll give you an overview of the curriculum and what you can expect to learn.

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If you’re interested in a career in radiology, you’re probably wondering how hard radiology tech school is. The answer is that it depends on a number of factors, including your background and how much time you’re willing to dedicate to your studies.

Radiology technologists (RTs) use x-ray equipment to produce images of bones, organs, and other tissues inside the human body. These images are used by physicians to diagnose and treat medical conditions. RTs must be licensed in most states.

Becoming an RT requires completing an accredited educational program and passing a nationally recognized certification examination. Most programs take two years to complete, although some accelerated programs can be finished in as little as 18 months.

Not everyone who starts an RT program will finish it. The dropout rate for RT programs is about 20%, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT). However, those who do complete an RT program and become certified RTs can enjoy rewarding careers with good job prospects and earnings potential.

The Curriculum

Radiology tech school can be tough, but it is doable. The curriculum is intense and very detailed. You will be taking classes on physics, anatomy, and physiology. You will also be required to take a certain number of clinical classes.


Most students complete their radiology tech program in two years, although some schools offer four-year bachelor degree programs. During the first year, you can expect to complete coursework in anatomy, physiology, medical ethics and patient care. You’ll also begin your clinical rotations, which is where you’ll get hands-on experience working with patients.

In the second year of your program, you’ll take more advanced courses in imaging and physics. You’ll also complete additional clinical rotations so that you can further develop your skills. By the time you finish your program, you should be well-prepared to sit for the national certification exam and begin your career as a radiology technologist.

Clinical Rotations

Most schools offering an Associate’s Degree in Radiologic Technology will require completion of between 65 and 80 credits, with at least 16 of those credits coming from general education courses. The remaining credits will come from required Radiologic Technology courses and related clinical rotations.

These clinical rotations will take place in actual healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices, and will give students the opportunity to put their knowledge into practice. Students will generally be required to complete between 100 and 200 hours of clinical rotation, depending on their program.

The Admission Process

Radiology tech school can be competitive, but the admission process is not as difficult as you may think. The first step is to submit your transcripts and GRE scores to the school. The next step is to complete an interview with the admissions committee. Finally, you will need to submit a writing sample.


Prerequisites for admission into an accredited radiology technology program may vary somewhat from school to school, but most will require the following:
-A high school diploma or GED
-Completion of college-level English and math courses
-Courses in biology and chemistry
Some programs may require students to complete a health care related prerequisite course, or have certification in CPR. Admission into radiology tech programs is generally competitive, so meeting or exceeding the minimum requirements is often not enough to guarantee admission. Junior colleges, community colleges, universities and hospitals with accredited programs usually require that applicants take a placement exam, such as the Health Occupations Pre-Admission Test (HOPAT), and submit high school and/or college transcripts as part of the admission process.

Application Process

Radiologic technology programs usually have a competitive admission process. Applicants are ranked according to their GPA and prerequisites courses. The top applicants are offered admission into the program.

Some schools have a waitlist for applicants who just miss the cut-off GPA or number of spots available. Other schools may offer conditional admission to students who agree to complete certain courses or raise their GPA before starting the program.

Most schools require that applicants submit:
-A completed application form
-Official transcripts from all colleges attended
-SAT or ACT scores (if taking the exam for the first time, schedule it so that your scores will be sent in time)
-Application fee
-Letters of recommendation
-Personal essay
-Proof of immunization against hepatitis B and MMR

The Job Market

The job market is often an important consideration when deciding what type of profession to enter into. And while the job market for radiology techs is fairly stable, it’s still worth taking a closer look to see if this is the right field for you.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for radiology techs was $60,070 in 2018. The top 10% of earners made more than $82,210, while the bottom 10% made less than $43,450. The BLS also projects that employment of radiologic technologists will grow by 9% from 2018 to 2028 — about as fast as the average for all occupations.


While the job market is good for graduates of radiology tech programs, competition for jobs is expected to increase as the number of graduates increases. The good news is that those who are willing to relocation are likely to find the best job prospects. The demand for diagnostic imaging services is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, so those who choose a career in radiology can expect good job security and potential for advancement.

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