After 75 Years, the ARRT Has a Rich History and a Bright Future


After 75 Years, the ARRT Has a Rich History and a Bright Future

By Scott Hatfield

ADVANCE Marketing Technology Editor

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) has changed its logo as part of the organization’s 75th anniversary.

10/6 cover inside Technologists who have attended this year’s Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM), American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) and American Healthcare Radiology Administrators (AHRA) annual meetings may have stopped by the ARRT’s booth in the exhibit halls and received a lapel pin with the special anniversary design.

Also at the booth, professionals could pick up a copy of the ARRT’s annual report, which includes an article that details the organization’s origins and history.

Among the facts found in that article, readers can learn the ARRT’s initial founding occurred in 1922 by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). There were 89 certificates issued in that first year, and at the beginning of 1997 there were 285,343 certificates registered.

An in-depth look at the history of the ARRT can be found in a book published by the ARRT for radiology centennial celebrations. The book, titled “The History of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists,” was written by Jack W. Hanson, a former ARRT assistant executive director, and edited by Jerry B. Reid, PhD, the current executive director.

The idea for the ARRT was set in motion in 1920 when the RSNA voted to develop a plan to certify X-ray technicians (sic), according to Hanson. The American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) joined the effort behind establishing an independent certification program for technologists, he added.

Two years later, the American Registry of Radiological Technicians (sic) was established. The main reasons discussed at the time for the establishment of the ARRT included to “raise the ideals of this class of medical technicians (sic), to recognize the value or worth of their service and, in the end, to prevent frauds and deceptions on the public.”

Among the facts listed on the beginnings of the ARRT listed in Hanson’s book are:

* Pioneer technologist Ed Jerman was appointed Examiner because he had been with the Victor X-ray Company (which later became the General Electric Company).

* The ARRT’s first official address was 305 Arthur Building, Omaha, Neb., which was also the home of the Radiological Publishing Company where the Tyler Brothers published Radiology, the RSNA’s official journal.

* The first official technologist who became ARRT-certified was Sister M. Beatrice Merrigan, who worked at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Oklahoma City, Okla. Sister Merrigan took the examination on November 17, 1922.

* In 1923, the ARRT moved from Omaha to St. Paul, Minn., where it is located today.

* The ARRT eligibility requirements for nuclear medicine technology were published in the May 1963, issue of The X-ray Technician, a journal published by the ARRT at the time. Seven months later, Donald G. Braatz, RT, an Air Force technologist, became the first registered nuclear medicine technologist.

* In November 1964, the first radiation therapy examinations were administered by the ARRT in conjunction with the X-ray technology and nuclear medicine technology examinations. The first registered radiation therapy technologist was Norbert C. Black, RT.

* Roland McGowan, who served as the ARRT’s executive director for 26 years, retired in 1991. (Many technologists who are presently active in the field met McGowan at organization meetings.) In 1992, current executive director Reid was promoted from his associate executive director and director of psychometric services positions.

These are just a few of the noteworthy facts listed in Hanson’s book, which is available for purchase from the ARRT. Other milestones in the archives of the ARRT’s history include majority representation of technologists on the ARRT’s board, as well as the establishment of advanced level certificates that began with cardiovascular-interventional technology and mammography.

In recent activities, technologists became part of the ARRT’s history when they participated in the mandatory phase of the ARRT’s continuing education requirements, which were instituted on January 1, 1995.

The ARRT is expanding its services and writing new chapters for its history book, according to a recent issue of its newsletter Educator Update. An article in the September, 1997, issue addresses computerized testing, specifically using computers to administer test questions to examinees. This will help ensure that all those taking the test will receive exactly the same test or a form of the same test.

Computer technology is expected to be incorporated into some of the ARRT exams by 1999, according to the organization. “It is anticipated that all of the ARRT’s tests will be computerized by the turn of the century,” the ARRT explained.

The organization is also exploring the creation of an examination in sonography. Currently, the ARRT is reviewing the curricula of sonography education programs, which will help the organization develop the sonography certification and determine the level of skills, education, training and knowledge required to become an ARRT-certified sonographer. The ARRT recently mailed a request for information on sonography education to a number of administrators, however the organization hopes to hear from any qualified administrators or professionals with relevant information to share on the subject.

* Technologists can still obtain an ARRT anniversary lapel pin because the organization announced it still has plans to exhibit at the upcoming American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting, as well as the 83rd Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the RSNA in Chicago, November 30-December 5.

Only about 40 copies of “The History of The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists” are available for purchase at $20 each. To obtain a copy, contact the ARRT at 1255 Northland Drive, St. Paul, MN 55120-1155, call the organization at (612) 687-0048 or visit its Web site at

Mammography Day 1997

More than 1200 facilities accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) will be participating in National Mammography Day, October 17. Throughout the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, participating facilities will be offering free or reduced-fee mammograms. To locate participating facilities, contact the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345, the Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization at 800-221-2141 or NABCO at 800-719-9154.

About The Author