How to Get an ARRT Certification

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART) is the leading credential organization for medical imaging and radiation therapy. Obtaining AART certification demonstrates that you have met the organization's high standards of patient care.

AART certification is available in a range of disciplines in medical imaging, radiation therapy, or interventional procedures. Achieving certification is an important step in your career development. Becoming certified will open up many opportunities for employment and demonstrate to potential employers and patients that you are knowledgeable in your field and committed to the highest standards of patient care.

What Is AART Certification?

AART certification is a credential from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, which is recognized as the leading organization for medical imaging and radiation therapy professional certification. There are three pathways to obtaining certification and registration: the primary pathway, post-primary, and registered radiologist assistant (R.R.A).


The primary pathway is how most people earn their first AART credential. In order to pursue this credential, you will need to complete an AART approved program in magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine technology, radiation therapy, radiography, or sonography.


The post-primary pathway is designed for individuals who already have AART certification and wish to obtain an additional credential. The areas of certification include bone densitometry, breast sonography, cardiac interventional radiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, mammography, quality management, sonography, vascular interventional radiography, and vascular sonography.


After meeting the requirements for the initial certification, you will need to register each year with AART to maintain registration and complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years.

​What Is the Purpose of an AART Certification?

If you are pursuing a career in the radiologic sciences, certification can set you apart from other candidates who are not certified and give you an edge in the job market. A growing number of employers are requiring AART certification for their employees. In either case, obtaining certification offers several advantages.

​Benefits of AART Certification

Certification shows that you have met the standards of your profession. The certification recognizes your qualifications for your job. Becoming certified requires mastery of certain professional standards in medical imaging, interventional procedures, or radiation therapy. Getting certification shows that your qualifications have been recognized by the AART.


If you pursue a job opportunity with an employer that requires AART certification, you won't get the job if you do not have the credential. This can limit your job prospects in some areas. Regardless of whether or not your employer requires certification, having the certification shows that you are committed to high quality patient care, which will set you apart from candidates without this credential.


When you have AART certification, it shows that you have met rigorous professional standards and are listed as a qualified professional. This credential is considered a verification of professional standards by state licensing agencies, federal regulators, and employers. There are over 330,000 professionals currently holding the certification in the United States. When you obtain your certification, you will be considered a qualified professional in your field.


There are also intrinsic benefits to AART certification. You will be gaining knowledge, skill, and confidence in your own work when you obtain certification. After you have become a registered technologist, you will continue to enjoy professional growth and development as you complete the requirements for maintaining your certification.

​How to Get AART Certification

Working to earn your certification is a challenge that requires a commitment on your part, but the effort will be worth it in the end. There are three requirements that must be met for AART certification: education, ethics, and examination. The first step is to determine the eligibility pathway that you will use and the discipline in which you want to be credentialed.

Education

The education requirement is the first step on the path to AART certification and registration. The education requirement varies, depending on which pathway you are using to pursue your credential.

Primary Pathway

In the primary eligibility pathway, you will be required to complete an AART-approved educational program. The available programs include magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine technology, radiation therapy, radiography, and sonography. Certification requires completing an educational program in the area in which you hope to be certified.


When using the primary pathway, you must earn an associate degree or higher, in addition to completing an educational program in the discipline of the credential you are pursuing. The associate degree must be from an institution that is accredited by an agency recognized by the AART. The degree does not have to be in the radiologic sciences and you can earn it before or after graduating from a radiological science educational program, but you must receive it before taking the examination.

Post-Primary Pathway

The post-primary pathway offers certification options that include bone densitometry, breast sonography, cardiac interventional radiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, mammography, quality management, sonography, vascular interventional radiography, and vascular sonography.


The educational requirements for AART certification using the post-primary pathway begin with being AART certified and registered in a supporting category to the credential you are seeking. In addition, you will need to complete 16 hours of structured educational activities. This is intended to help you master the specific knowledge you will need for your credential.


There is also a clinical experience requirement for obtaining certification through the post-primary pathway. You will need to document a specific number of clinical procedures in your online account. The activities and number of procedures will vary, depending on the discipline. Verifiers must confirm your work.


Registered Radiologist Assistant (R.R.A.): Prior to pursuing the R.R.A. credential, you must be AART certified in radiography.


You will need to earn a bachelor's degree from an institution that is accredited by an agency that is recognized by the AART. There is a requirement for completing a radiologist assistant program in an AART approved program and you must have at least one year of clinical experience in radiography.

Ethics

Protecting the interests and safety of patients is a priority and the reason for the ethics requirements for AART certification. The AART Standards of Ethics describes the behavior that is expected of Registered Technologists and the behavior that won't be tolerated. The Code of Ethics are the guidelines and the Rules of Ethics are the mandatory standards that are enforced.


Examples of ethics violations include fraud or deceptive practices, unprofessional conduct, subversion, the scope of practice violations, being unfit to practice, violation of state or federal laws or regulatory rules, failure to report violations, and improper management of patient records.

Examination

The AART examination is the final step in the process of AART certification. The examination that you will take varies, according to your discipline. The exams have been created by experts in the industry including Registered Technologists in each discipline area. The exams are designed to measure the knowledge of the candidate in the daily tasks that are performed by an entry-level Registered Technologist in that discipline.


The exams are computer-based and each exam has several practice questions, so you can become familiar with the format. The length of the exam is designed to cover the skills needed for each discipline. The time allotted for each test depends on the number of questions on the exam.

There are a variety of study materials available that can be used to help candidates prepare for the examination. AART has Content Specifications, or outlines, that can be used as a guide to help in preparation for the exam. These outlines and study materials are used by program directors in many educational programs that prepare students for certification.


Individuals who have a disability that is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can request accommodations at the testing center where the exam will be taken. You must submit a request for accommodations at the time your application is submitted.


They recommend arriving at your testing site about a half hour before your scheduled examination. When you arrive at the testing center, you will need to show two forms of identification, your photographs, have your palms scanned, and provide a digital signature.


When you have finished the exam, you will see a preliminary score on your computer. This is not your final score. That will be mailed within three weeks of the exam date. Before you leave the testing center, your palms will be scanned again.


If you fail an exam, don't worry about it too much. You will have the opportunity to take the exam again. They allow three attempts to pass the exam within three years of the first time you take it. If you experienced problems at the test center, you may file an exam administration appeal.

​Conclusion

woman checking the xray result

Image via Pixabay

AART certification is a professional credential that is recognized by employers, state licensing agencies, and federal regulators. Obtaining certification shows that you have attained the education, knowledge, and skill required to provide quality care to patients. There are many benefits to certification, including employment opportunities and recognition as a professional in your field.


AART certification is available in a range of disciplines in medical imaging, radiation therapy, or interventional procedures. There are three pathways to certification and each pathway has requirements for education, ethics, and examination. Once you have achieved certification, you will be required to participate in continuing education to maintain your certification.