ARRT Radiography (Radiology Technician) Certification Exam
The ARRT Radiography Certification Exam assesses your knowledge and skills in three main content areas. Each area covers a range of topics and subtopics related to radiologic technology principles and procedures:
1. Patient Care (approximately 26% of the exam)
a. Patient Interactions and Management:
- Patient communication
- Patient assessment
- Patient monitoring
- Patient comfort and safety
- Patient scheduling and preparation
b. Infection Control:
- Aseptic and sterile techniques
- Handling and disposal of contaminated materials
- Universal precautions
c. Patient Safety:
- Radiation protection for patients
- Identification of patient and procedure
- Safety precautions, such as contrast media reactions and allergies
2. Image Production (approximately 33% of the exam)
a. Radiographic Image Acquisition:
- Selection of technical factors (kVp, mA, time, distance)
- Image receptor systems
- Grids and beam-limiting devices
b. Equipment Operation and Quality Assurance:
- Radiographic equipment operation
- Maintenance and quality assurance of equipment
c. Image Evaluation:
- Identification of optimal image quality
- Determination of corrective actions for suboptimal images
- Evaluation of artifacts
d. Radiation Protection:
- Principles of radiation protection for patients and personnel
- Monitoring and documentation of radiation exposure
- Regulatory guidelines and radiation safety
3. Procedures (approximately 41% of the exam)
a. Radiographic Procedures:
- Anatomical positioning and landmarks
- Selection of appropriate projections
- Evaluation of radiographic images for quality and diagnostic value
b. Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology:
- Identification and understanding of anatomical structures
- Physiology and function of body systems
- Pathological conditions and their impact on radiographic procedures
c. Equipment and Accessory Devices:
- Selection and application of immobilization devices
- Use of contrast media and administration methods
- Ancillary devices for image enhancement
The exam is a computer-based test consisting of approximately 200 multiple-choice questions. You will have around 3.5 hours to complete the exam. The questions are designed to test your knowledge of radiologic technology principles and procedures, as well as your ability to apply this knowledge to clinical scenarios.
To be eligible for the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam, you must meet specific educational, clinical, and ethical requirements. Here’s a detailed look at the eligibility criteria:
- You must complete an accredited radiologic technology program recognized by the ARRT. Most programs are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). These programs generally take two years to complete and lead to an associate degree, although some may offer a bachelor’s degree.
- The educational program must include both didactic (classroom-based) and clinical components to ensure a comprehensive understanding of radiologic technology principles and hands-on experience.
- Clinical Experience:
- As part of your radiologic technology program, you must complete clinical rotations in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, outpatient imaging centers, and clinics. These rotations provide hands-on experience in performing radiologic procedures under the supervision of qualified radiologic technologists.
- The clinical component ensures that you develop competency in performing a wide range of radiologic procedures, including patient positioning, equipment operation, image evaluation, and radiation protection.
- To be eligible for the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam, you must meet the ARRT’s ethics requirements. This includes demonstrating good moral character, adhering to the ARRT Standards of Ethics, and having no history of serious criminal convictions or professional disciplinary actions.
- If you have any concerns about meeting the ethics requirements, the ARRT offers a pre-application review process, which allows you to determine your eligibility before investing time and resources into an educational program.
- After completing your educational and clinical requirements, you can apply for the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam. The application process involves submitting an application form, providing documentation of your qualifications, and paying the required fee.
- You must apply for the exam within three years of completing your educational program to ensure that your knowledge and skills are current.
As if 2021, the exam fee for the ARRT radiography certification exam was $200 for first-time candidates and $175 for repeat candidates.
To prepare for the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam, review the exam content specifications provided by the ARRT, utilize study materials such as textbooks, review courses, and practice exams, and consider participating in study groups or online forums.
The ARRT uses a scaled scoring system, with a passing score typically set at 75. The exact number of questions you need to answer correctly to achieve a passing score may vary slightly based on the difficulty of the questions on your particular exam. You will receive your score immediately after completing the test.
Arrival at the testing center
Plan to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time. This allows you to complete the check-in process and become familiar with the testing environment. Make sure you know the location of the testing center and the route you will take to get there to avoid any delays.
When you arrive at the testing center, you will need to present a valid, government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license or passport) to verify your identity. Ensure that the name on your ID matches the name on your exam registration. You may also be asked to provide your ARRT identification number.
The testing center will have specific rules regarding personal belongings. You may be required to store items such as bags, jackets, and electronic devices in a designated locker outside the testing room. It’s a good idea to leave any unnecessary items at home to streamline this process.
Test center rules
The testing center will enforce strict rules to maintain exam security and integrity. These rules may include prohibiting the use of electronic devices, notes, or reference materials during the exam. You may also be monitored by video surveillance and/or testing center staff while taking the exam.
You may take unscheduled breaks during the exam, but the exam clock will not stop while you are on a break. Use your time wisely and consider taking brief, strategic breaks if needed.
After completing the exam, you will receive your score report, which will indicate whether you have passed or failed. The score report will also provide feedback on your performance in each content area, which can be helpful for future study or retaking the exam if necessary.
If you pass the exam, you will be awarded the Registered Technologist (R.T.) credential with a certification in Radiography. You may be required to obtain a state license to practice, depending on your state’s specific requirements.
Preliminary results: After completing the COTA exam, you may receive a preliminary pass or fail status on the computer screen at the testing center. This initial result is not your official score, but it provides an indication of your performance on the exam.
Official results: Your official exam results will be available through your NBCOT online account, typically within 1-2 weeks after your test date. You will receive an email notification when your results are ready to be viewed.
Passing the exam: If you pass the COTA exam, you will receive a notification of your passing status, your scaled score, and information on how to maintain your certification. You will also be granted the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) credential.
Failing the exam: If you do not pass the COTA exam, you will receive a notification of your failing status, your scaled score, and a breakdown of your performance in each content area. This information can help you identify areas for improvement and guide your study efforts if you decide to retake the exam.
After successfully passing the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam, you will be awarded the Registered Technologist (R.T.) credential with a certification in Radiography. To maintain your certification, you must complete continuing education requirements, adhere to the ARRT Standards of Ethics, and renew your certification every two years.
Retakes for the ARRT Radiography Exam
If you do not pass the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam on your first attempt, you have the opportunity to retake the exam. Here’s what you need to know about retaking the exam:
- Number of retakes: You may retake the ARRT Radiography exam up to two more times within a three-year period from your initial examination date. This means you have a total of three attempts to pass the exam within this time frame.
- Application for retake: To retake the exam, you must submit a new application, provide the necessary documentation, and pay the required fee. The application process for a retake is similar to the process for the initial exam.
- Study and preparation: Use the feedback provided on your score report to identify areas where you need to improve. Focus on these areas during your preparation for the retake. Consider using additional resources such as review courses, study groups, or practice exams to strengthen your understanding of the exam content.
- Waiting period: There is a 45-day waiting period between attempts to retake the ARRT Radiography exam. This waiting period provides you with time to review and improve your knowledge and skills before attempting the exam again.
- Impact on eligibility: If you are unable to pass the ARRT Radiography Certification Exam within the allowed three attempts or the three-year period, you will need to complete another accredited educational program in radiologic technology before becoming eligible to reapply for the exam.
Renewal of ARRT
To maintain your ARRT Radiography Certification, you must renew it every two years. The renewal process ensures that radiologic technologists stay up-to-date with advancements in the field and continue to meet the required professional standards. Here are the key aspects of the renewal process:
- Continuing Education (CE) Requirements: To renew your certification, you must complete 24 Continuing Education (CE) credits every two years. CE credits can be earned through various activities, such as attending workshops, participating in online courses, or attending professional conferences. The ARRT requires that CE activities be relevant to the radiologic sciences and meet the standards set by the Recognized Continuing Education Evaluation Mechanism (RCEEM) or other ARRT-approved organizations.
- Tracking CE credits: Keep records of your CE activities and be prepared to provide documentation if audited by the ARRT. You may use the ARRT’s online CE tracking system to log and track your completed CE credits.
- Renewal Application: To renew your certification, complete the ARRT’s renewal application, which is typically available online through your ARRT account. The application will ask you to confirm that you have met the CE requirements and that you continue to comply with the ARRT’s Standards of Ethics.
- Renewal Fee: You will need to pay a renewal fee when submitting your application. The fee amount may vary, so check the ARRT’s website for the most up-to-date information.
- Renewal Deadline: The renewal deadline is typically the last day of your birth month. Be sure to submit your renewal application and pay the required fee on or before the deadline to avoid a lapse in certification.
- Lapsed Certification: If you fail to renew your certification on time, it may lapse, and you may be required to complete additional requirements to reinstate it, such as completing a reinstatement application, paying a reinstatement fee, and meeting specific CE requirements.