Computed Tomography Certification and Certificate Programs

Computed tomography technicians, also known as CT technologists, operate x-ray machines to take cross-sectional scans of patients for diagnostic purposes. Students can learn how to take the scans, also called CAT scans, in a Computed Tomography Certificate program.

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Computed Tomography Certificate

Many community colleges and universities will offer a CT course within an associate's degree or certificate program in diagnostic medical imaging or radiography. Some schools, however, offer certificate programs related specifically to the field of computed tomography. The primary purpose of such a certificate program is to train students to assist radiologists by using sophisticated x-ray equipment to capture cross-sectional images of patients.

Students enrolled in a computed tomography certificate program learn that CAT scans work by utilizing waves of energy to take sectional photos and then processing them through a computer to create three-dimensional images. They also learn about the basics of radiation protection and safety procedures that are employed during CAT scan procedures. Courses are taught through both classroom and clinical instruction, providing students with hands-on opportunities to learn how to operate CAT scan technologies.

Education Prerequisites

Many schools offering computed tomography certificate programs do require that incoming students first be the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) registered technologists. This also means that most computed tomography certificate programs are only open to students who have at least an associate's degree. Students should also submit proof of immunizations and a current CPR certification.

Program Coursework

The courses included within a computed tomography certificate program are specifically designed to provide students with a working understanding of how to operate CT equipment in health care setting. Specific courses include:

  • Principals of CT imaging
  • Imaging procedures
  • Sectional anatomy for computed tomography
  • Safety and patient care
  • Computed tomography protocols
  • Pathology
  • Clinical practicum

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, radiologic technologists in general held approximately 194,790 jobs in 2012 (www.bls.gov). Computed tomography technologists in particular earned between $41,517 and $74,426 per year in 2013, according to PayScale.com.

Certification Options

Graduates must gain primary certification by the ARRT before they can even begin a certificate program in computed tomography. They can gain primary certification by completing programs in radiography, sonography, or nuclear medicine and then successfully take an examination offered by ARRT. Once students have completed an additional accredited certificate program in computed tomography, they are eligible to gain the post-primary certification of CT technologists from ARRT.

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