So You Want to Work with Radiation?

June 13, 2014

No problem, in some states, where radiology technologists aren’t required to have additional education or licensure. North Carolina is looking to fix this.

Anyone can work with radiation.

At least that’s the case in many states, where there are no licensing standards for radiology technologists. For now. North Carolina is joining a growing number of states working to establish standards of education and licensure for radiology technologists.

North Carolina’s current laws allow anyone to take medical images, no education or clinical competencies required. At stake is patient and technologist safety, as improperly performed imaging can be extremely harmful.

The proposed House Bill 742/Senate Bill 390, which is currently being considered by North Carolina’s House of Representatives and Senate, states “No person shall administer or offer to administer radiologic imaging or radiation therapy procedures on humans for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes…unless that person is currently licensed as provided under this Article.”  The governing group of the legislation would be a newly created “North Carolina Radiologic Imaging and Radiation Therapy Board of Examiners.”

Under the new law, radiology technologists would need to apply for a license, be at least 18 years old and have completed successfully a four-year secondary school approved the State Board of Education (or passed an approved equivalency test). Applicants for a license as a radiographer, radiation therapist, magnetic resonance technologist, cardiovascular invasive specialist or nuclear medicine technologist would need to “satisfactorily” complete a course of study in the respective modality they apply for. Curriculum for the course would comply with the standards approved by appropriate Board-approved accreditation agencies.

Applicants for licensure for a limited X-ray machine operator would need to complete a course of study in limited X-ray machine operation, incorporating the American Society of Radiologic Technologists Limited Scope Radiography Education Curriculum.

All applicants would be required to pass an examination approved by the Board. Under the proposed legislation, the Board would accept current registration by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, Nuclear Medicine Technologist Certification Board, Cardiovascular Credentialing International or other nationally recognized credentialing bodies, assuming the standards are equivalent to the standards of the Board.

If applicants meet all requirements, licenses should be granted for an as-of-yet undetermined fee, and would require renewal every two years. Technologists would be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education as approved by the Board to be eligible for license renewal.

The legislation still has a lot of factors to determine, but its underlying motive and purpose is safety. “Patients expect to be treated by health care professionals who understand radiation safety protection measures and are educated in the core fundamentals of radiologic technology; however, in our state, individuals can perform procedures without any training or education,” Brenda Greenberg, legislative chairman of the North Carolina Society of Radiologic Technologists said in an Imaging Economics article.

If passed, North Carolina would leave behind six other states that do not have requirements for radiology technologists.