The field of radiography and radiologic technology continues to expand; therefore, there is increasing competition within the field. As a result, one of the best ways to distinguish yourself competitively is to possess major licenses like the ARRT certification and registration.
Being an ARRT registered technologist is a significant addition to your career as a radiographer. In this article, I will discuss everything you need to know about becoming an ARRT registered technologist.
What Is ARRT Certification and Registration?
ARRT stands for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. It is an organization that certifies and registers qualified individuals in imaging and radiation. It is also one of the world’s largest and most recognized organizations that offer credentials in radiation therapy, imaging, and intervention.
To be certified and registered by this credentialing institution, you must pass the ARRT examination.
Why Are ARRT Certification and Registration Important?
The ARRT certification and registration are very essential. This is because, in certain states and with some employees, they are required to be able to practice radiography. Furthermore, even where the certification is not a requirement, it is an advantage because it indicates immense value and qualification.
Beyond its usefulness in the employment world, being registered and certified by the ARRT will help boost your skill, confidence, and knowledge as a radiographer and imaging specialist. This happens largely due to the Continuing Education (CE) requirements that you must possess to maintain your certification, as well as the examination you must pass to be a registered technologist in the first place.
How Do I Get Certified and Registered by the ARRT in Radiography?
There are three major requirements that you must meet before you can obtain an ARRT certification, namely, education, ethics, and examination. However, before you get started on these requirements, you will need to identify the eligibility pathway you will go through and the discipline where you want to earn a certification.
Fundamentally, the ARRT has two pathways through which you can earn an ARRT certification, namely the primary pathway and the post-primary pathway. Radiography, our discipline of concern in this article, falls under the primary pathway. Therefore, the requirements to be an ARRT registered technologist in radiography is as follows;
1. Educational Requirements
- You must have earned an associate degree (or higher) from an ARRT-accredited institution.
- You must complete an ARRT-approved educational program in radiography
- After your program, you have a window of three years to establish your eligibility and apply for ARRT certification and registration (Read more on the three-year rule here).
2. Ethics Requirement
The ARRT has standards of ethics, and candidates must demonstrate great moral character in line with these standards. The ARRT Standards of Ethics is one of the organizations governing documents, and you can access it here.
3. Examination Requirement
This is the final requirement to be registered and certified by the ARRT. You must pass the ARRT exams to be certified and registered.
What Is the ARRT Exam Format?
The ARRT exams are computer-based, and there is a tutorial at the beginning of every exam to help you get familiar with the format of the questions and the process of answering them.
Furthermore, the length of time to do your exam depends on ARRT’s Practice Analysis Advisory Committees. These committees consider factors like the number of questions for a discipline and the number of topics in the content specification for a discipline to arrive at an appropriate length of time.
For radiography, the allocated time in the 2023 primary eligibility pathway handbook is 250 minutes (4 hours, 10 minutes). 230 minutes is for the actual test, while 20 minutes is for a 10-minute survey, an 8-minute tutorial, and the signing of an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement).
You can access the handbook here.
How Do the ARRT Score Exams?
The ARRT has a scoring scale from 1 to 99. To pass, you will need to have a total score of 75. You should note that 75 is not a percentage. The number of correct answers you will need to get to have a scaled score of 75 varies from one exam to the other. So, for instance, for some exams, you may need to correctly answer 133 questions out of 200 to get a scaled score of 75, while on more challenging exams, you may need to answer 132 or 131 questions correctly.
Typically, you will get your examination results in an examination result packet sent to your mail within four weeks of writing the exam. The packet will contain your score report, which will reveal your total score and your performance in different content areas. This information concerning your performance in content areas is useful in helping you craft a pathway for your continuing education or to help you focus your studying if you have to retake the examination.
If you fail the exam, you will have the opportunity to retake it two more times within three years. This is based on the “three attempts in three years rule.” If you miss the registration and certification during this period or after three attempts, you will have to regain eligibility. To regain eligibility to apply for certification in radiography, you will have to complete an educational program on radiography again. This could be the same one you did at first or a different one.
How Do You Prepare for the ARRT Exam?
Depending on your reading style and circumstances, there are various ways to prepare for your ARRT exam. However, there are some things that you must pay attention to, no matter what. They include:
- Going through the exam content specification
The ARRT has a content outline for each discipline that covers the range of topics from which questions will be set. It is vital that you go through this guide to know the volume of work you have to cover and how to focus your reading.
- Taking practice tests
Practice tests help you to measure how prepared you are for the exam. They also reveal areas you need to focus on as the exam gets closer. Here is an excellent ARRT practice test that you can take.