Between the diverse and complicated diagnostic imaging systems that you’re required to know as a radiologic technologist, there are a handful of state licensing hoops to jump through that you should also be aware of.
Each state has different requirements and regulations to become a rad tech and with their own unique timeline and process. More than 75 percent of U.S. states have licensing laws for rad techs and some states are easier to get licensed in than others.
You have enough to focus on as a professional healthcare traveler—spend less time stressing and more time practicing by prepping for your licenses ahead of time.
States that make it harder to get licensed as a rad tech
Healthcare staffing agencies work with hundreds of professional rad tech travelers on the daily—and they listen and care about what you have to say. These are a few of the most challenging states to become licensed as a rad tech:
- Washington. There are many levels of rad tech licenses and permits issued in Washington state, each with its own scope. The first step is to register with Secure Access Washington (SAW) and sign into the Department of Health Online Application Portal. Follow the instructions to provide information about yourself, complete seven hours of HIV/AIDS training, and complete additional paperwork within 14 days of starting your application.
Washington State Department of Health conducts fingerprint background checks on out-of-state applicants, plus some with a criminal history in the state, at your time and expense. Then, it’s time to wait—how long you wait varies on when your application was submitted and received.
Additionally, Washington State-certified rad techs are required to renew their certification every two years by their birthday.
- New Hampshire. It’s true New Hampshire doesn’t license radiological technologists, but there are high standards to meet. First, New Hampshire requires that any individual providing medical support be registered as a medical technician. There is a myriad of modalities to choose from, including rad tech. When you apply for licensure, applicants need to specify their modality to obtain the appropriate certification.
New Hampshire also requires certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or by the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) as a Registered Cardiac Electrophysiology Specialist (RCES) or Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS). Be aware that your initial license will expire in two years on the last day of your birth month, so renew as necessary.
New Hampshire doesn’t do a fingerprint background check, but the state does ask you provide a notarized application, a general background check, and payment of the applicable fee before you can become state certified.
- Oregon. To practice as a rad tech in Oregon, you need to be licensed by the Oregon Board of Medical Imaging (OBMI). To get your ARRT certification, you have to pass the ARRT exam with a score of 75 or higher and then submit an application and licensing fee to the OBMI.
When you’ve provided the application and licensing fees, you’ll submit a fingerprint background check. Once the paperwork has been submitted and processed, you’ll receive your license to practice.
Similar to other states, Oregon requires you renew your licenses every two years, along with 24 hours of continuing education.
- Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas, especially the need for rad techs. The Texas Medical Board (TMB) oversees Medical Radiologic Technologist (MRT), Medical Physicist (MP), and Radiologist Assistant (RA) state licensures. How to become a rad tech in Texas varies by specialty, but overall, this is what you can expect.
You first need to pass the ARRT exam for your chosen modality. Then, complete the application forms and instructions provided by the TMB—be ready to send certified transcripts and official verification of your professional ARRT certification. After you’re ARRT certified, you need to pass the Jurisprudence (JP) exam, which covers all Texas statutes and Board rules regarding licensure, scope of practice, and medical ethics.
Now that you’ve submitted your app and the required paperwork, the TMB will grant your license once your submissions are fully processed. To maintain your Texas license, you need to complete 24 hours of continuing education during each two-year renewal cycle, with at least 12 of those hours formally designed courses.
- North Dakota. Overseen by the North Dakota Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Board (NDMIRTB), the state requires licensing and registration for all imaging professionals, including rad techs. To get licensed by the state of North Dakota, you need to first be certified by the ARRT or another nationally-certified organization recognized by the Board.
Once ARRT certified, applicants should submit a state license application for their specific modality of practice through the Board’s website and expect them to run a background check. In order to maintain your certification, you must be registered in each modality of your practice, plus earn five hours of continuing education per year in all modalities of your practice.
- Kansas. Kansas rad techs must either be a Licensed Radiologic Technologist (LRT) or have a temporary license to work in the state. To become licensed, applicants must pass a national certifying exam, such as the ARRT, in their specific discipline. Once passed, candidates need to submit an application, necessary fees, and documentation to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts (KBHA).
If Kansas is your dream rad tech job location, apply four to eight weeks in advance because that’s how long it typically takes for the Board to process your information. In Kansas, LRTs renew their license annually and during each renewal period, must also complete 12 credit hours of continuing education.
- Virginia. The Virginia Board of Medicine’s Radiological Technology Advisory Board (RTAB) controls the rad tech application process in Virginia. Your first step to practice in this state is to pass the ARRT certification exam in your specific modality. Then, you need to apply for ARRT certification after you’ve passed the exam.
Both state and ARRT certifications must be renewed every two years with 24 continuing education credits to qualify for renewal.
- Maryland. Before you can practice as a rad tech in Maryland, you need to be licensed by the Maryland Board of Physicians (MBP). To do so, you must apply for a professional certification with the ARRT or by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). Then, pass the professional certification exam for your chosen modality, and apply for licensure. Applicants need to apply for licensure with the Board and provide supporting documents and associated fees.
Documentation you should have ready include completion of the necessary education, certification, proof of previous licensure or practice in other states, plus get read to verify good moral character and physical fitness.
Radiologic technologists in Maryland renew their license biannually and requires either 24 hours of continuing education earned during the licensure period, current registration with the ARRT, or current certification by the NMTCB.
Ways rad techs can prep and plan ahead
“The best way to prepare for licensing is to talk to your recruiter,” said radiology recruiter, Andy Hanneman. “Talk about your next assignment and look at the states you want to travel in. Look at which of those states that have licenses and then plan on working on getting one to two more licenses so that by the time you’re looking for your next contract, you have licenses already ready to go.”
Another way to be prepared for these tough licensing states is to do your research. This might seem obvious, but before you do anything, do your research so you know what you’re getting into and what to expect from the state where you want to work. The ARRT offers state licensing handbooks for applicants to help navigate their way through the state certification process.
There are also traveling group pages to join where you can seek advice from rad tech professionals and read stories from experienced travelers.
You should also do additional research about the exam itself to fully understand it and know the amount of questions that are ahead of you. To go further, review the exam content specifications for your discipline as a guide to help prepare for your exam.
"Go through the study guide page by page, read it, answer the questions, and mark the ones you got wrong," said recent graduate. "Then, go look for what the right answer is and why. Take the pre-tests and then do the same thing for those wrong answers."
Additionally, start early and allow for plenty of time to apply for and receive the certification. Since most of these states take several weeks to process, start to submit licensing applications and fees about six weeks before you complete your current travel job. That way, you won’t have to stress about being unemployed or unlicensed when an opportunity arises.
“Sometimes the order in which you get your licenses can be advantageous since a lot of states require physical verification on licenses before they’re granted, so the less licenses you have to verify, the better,” said Hanneman.
Another way to get ahead of the licensing game is to have all of your necessary documentation ready to share—these include diploma, transcripts, marriage licenses, and more. It’s a good idea to get multiple copies of these items so you have them prepared in advance. Also, be sure to take your time and be thorough—double-check you’re filling out the right form, dating it correctly, etc.
Lastly, complete your Fusion Marketplace profile so you can upload your required documents into your personal account and streamline your job search and application process. Connect with recruiters from multiple healthcare staffing agencies and gain access to top-tier travel opportunities.
Fusion Marketplace for rad techs
Not only does Fusion Marketplace make it easy on you to find rad tech jobs, Marketplace also gives you the transparency you deserve so you can compare staffing agencies, healthcare facilities, benefits, job hours, and more. Find exactly what you’re looking for with Fusion Marketplace and quickly apply for rad tech opportunities using your traveler profile.
There is a plethora of rad tech travel jobs available across the country—the dilemma is a handful of states make it difficult for rad techs to get licensed and/or certified. As the demand for radiologic technologists grows, more and more traveling rad techs will be needed in those tough licensing locations.
The need for traveling radiologic techs is expands across the country. In fact, the profession is expected to grow 7 percent between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than the average career growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As more rad tech job opportunities appear nationwide, start applying ahead of time so you have ample wiggle room between assignments.
Fusion Marketplace makes it easy for you to know what certifications and licenses are required for your specific healthcare field, plus gives you full access and control over your travel career. Save your credentials in your traveler profile and apply to rad tech jobs across the country with a simple click.