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General X-Ray Machine Operator

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General X-Ray Machine Operator (GXMO Certificate)

General X-Ray Machine Operator (GXMO)

General X-Ray Machine Operator (GXMO) courses are provided to prepare an individual to become a licensed General X-ray Machine Operator in the State of Ohio. Note that this preparation only applies to work in Ohio. Other states may have different requirements.

The Ohio GXMO license is a Limited Radiography license, meaning that it qualifies an individual to practice radiography of a specific anatomical area under supervised conditions. Typically this license is sought by those with a Medical Assisting or Nursing credential to be able perform radiographic studies in an office or outpatient setting - in addition to performing other patient care duties. The Associate Degree in Medical Imaging (Radiography), on the other hand, provides preparation to perform a wider range of radiographic procedures as would be expected in a hospital imaging department environment.

GXMO License Preparation
General X-Ray Machine Operator (GXMO) Certificate
GXMO Certificate Plan of Study
GXMO Frequently Asked Questions

GXMO License Preparation

The following outlines the coursework and timeline leading to GXMO licensure. This coursework can typically be completed in one 16 week semester (Autumn or Spring).

GXMO flowchart

1. Complete the GXMO Didactic course, IMAG 1190, with a C or better.

IMAG 1190 Radiation Protection for General Machine Operators provides instruction regarding radiation production, image formation, and radiation protection. It is a prerequisite for IMAG 1101.

This course is often scheduled as an 8 week FLEX course during the first half of Autumn or Spring Semester. Taken in this format, the student may then complete positioning modules during the second 8 weeks of the same semester.

2. Register and take the Ohio GXMO license exam.

Details regarding the exam can be found at:
The exam may be scheduled after completion of IMAG 1190. The exam must be passed within one year of completing IMAG 1190 to avoid retaking the didactic course. We recommend taking the exam soon after IMAG 1190 completion.

3. Complete GXMO positioning module courses.

These courses are typically scheduled as three 4- hour sessions (12 contact hours), often three Saturday mornings, three Saturday afternoons or Mon Wed Fri evening in one week.

IMAG 1101 Introduction to Radiographic Equipment/Patient Care. This module prepares students in the skills of radiographic image processing, basic patient positioning, equipment operation, and radiation protection. This course is a prerequisite to IMAG 1102, 1103, 1104, 1105.
IMAG 1102 Radiographic Positioning of Upper Extremities. This course prepares students to perform radiographic examinations of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, arm, and shoulder.
IMAG 1103 Radiographic Positioning of Lower Extremities. This course prepares students to perform radiographic examinations of the foot, ankle, leg, knee, thigh, hip, and pelvis.
IMAG 1104 Radiographic Positioning of Chest & Abdomen. This course prepares students to perform radiographic examinations of the chest, abdomen in upright, recumbent, and decubitus positions.
IMAG 1105 Radiographic Positioning of Spine, Skull and Sinuses. This course prepares students to perform radiographic examinations of the skull, paranasal sinuses, facial bones, cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, sacrum and coccyx.

4. Apply for the Ohio GXMO license.

The final step in becoming a licensed General X-ray Machine Operator is to apply for the license itself through the Ohio Department of Health. The license application will include verification that the previous steps have been completed. This is done using Completion Certificates for the various courses and a Certificate issued when you pass the Ohio written license exam.

Licensing is provided in a number of categories. The preparation for each category is detailed below:

License Category Required Coursework Completion Certificates to include with License Application
Extremities Radiography IMAG 1190, 1101, 1102, 1103 IMAG 1190 Certificate
GXMO Exam Certificate
IMAG 1102/1103 Certificate
Chest/Abdomen Radiography IMAG 1190, 1101, 1104 IMAG 1190 Certificate
GXMO Exam Certificate
IMAG 1104 Certificate
Spine Radiography IMAG 1190, 1101, 1105 IMAG 1190 Certificate
GXMO Exam Certificate
IMAG 1105 Certificate
Skull Radiography IMAG 1190, 1101, 0015 IMAG 1190 Certificate
GXMO Exam Certificate
IMAG 1105 Certificate
All Categories IMAG 1190, 1101, 1102, 1103, 1104, 1105 IMAG 1190 Certificate
GXMO Exam Certificate
IMAG 1102/1103 Certificate
IMAG 1104 Certificate
IMAG 1105 Certificate


General X-Ray Machine Operator (GXMO) Certificate

In addition to the GXMO license, learners may earn a Columbus State GXMO Certificate by completing Technical, Basic Related and General courses that would help prepare them to enter the Associate Degree Medical Imaging Program.

Basic Related Courses:
MATH 1030 Beginning Algebra II
BIO 1101 Fundamentals of Human Anatomy & Physiology
CSCI 1101 Computer Concepts and Applications

General Education Courses:
ENGL 1100 Composition I
MULT 1110 Medical Terminology
PHIL 1130 Ethics

Technical Courses:
IMAG 1190 Radiation Protection for the General Machine Operator
IMAG 1101 Introduction to Radiographic Equipment and Patient Care
IMAG 1102 Radiographic Positioning of the Upper Extremities
IMAG 1103 Radiographic Positioning of the Lower Extremities
IMAG 1104 Radiographic Positioning of the Chest and Abdomen
IMAG 1105 Radiographic Positioning of the Spine, Skull, and Sinuses
IMAG 1111 Introduction to Radiologic Technology

This certificate program is designed to meet the learning needs of adults wishing to enter the imaging field of radiography with a limited license. At the completion of the certificate program, the learner will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competence in academic technical courses that meet the Ohio Department of Health requirements
  • Be eligible to apply for the Ohio General X-Ray Machine Operator (GxMO) State Examination
  • Demonstrate competence in patient-care skills and radiographic positioning and imaging skills specific to GXMO license categories
  • Incorporate general education outcomes for effective communication as necessary in a health care setting
  • Incorporate basic related course content to support technical course academic theory and practice
  • Develop technical skills required for employment in outpatient imaging facilities, urgent care centers, and physician practices


GXMO Frequently Askedsd

Note: The information in this section is current to best of our ability, however, the Ohio Department of Health website provides the most current and accurate information regarding the GXMO license.

What is a GXMO?

GXMO stands for General X-ray Machine Operator. It is illegal in the state of Ohio to take x-rays of humans without a license. Please note that other rules, credentials, and terminology may be used in other states and the Ohio license may not be recognized in other states.

The Ohio Department of Health grants a GXMO license to individuals who complete appropriate training and pass a certifying examination. The license authorizes them to perform certain x-ray exams, under certain conditions. For example, an Ohio GXMO licensee with the chest/abdomen category only may perform x-rays of the chest and abdomen but may not perform exams of other body areas, for example the hand or hip. Additionally, the GXMO licensee may not perform mammography, computed tomography, and other specialized exams. For this reason, the practice is often referred to as limited radiography.

What kind of job can I get with a GXMO license?

A GXMO license alone will not typically lead to an entry level job. Most employer inquires we receive regarding this are looking for a Medical Assistant or other health care worker who also has a GXMO license.

Typically the GXMO works in a doctor's office or clinic. The ability to perform certain radiographic examinations is just one part of a larger skill set that might include clerical, medical billing, or medical assistant skills.

How do I prepare for a GXMO license at Columbus State?

There are actually three components to qualify for a GXMO license in Ohio: a didactic course, a written examination, and clinical courses. After you pass each component you will be given a certificate that is used for your license application.

Didactic course. The starting point is IMAG 1190. This is the didactic or classroom portion of the GXMO education. This semester long class (1.5 credit hours; 22 contact hours) helps you understand how x-rays are produced, how to use the x-ray machine controls and equipment to form a diagnostic image, and how to work safely with x-radiation. The material in this class is developed from the Ohio Department of Health Curriculum Guide for GXMO courses.

Written examination. After passing IMAG 1190 with a C or better you are qualified to take the written GXMO license exam, given by the Ohio Department of Health. This 60 question exam will test your knowledge based upon what you learned in IMAG 1190. To qualify for a license, you must pass this exam within one year after completing IMAG 1190. Otherwise, you may be required to retake IMAG 1190 to try the test again. The exam is offered at least once each month and costs $140 per attempt.

Clinical courses. After passing IMAG 1190 you can then take IMAG 1101. This modular course (0.5 credit hour; 12 contact hours) covers image processing, positioning terminology, basic patient care, and radiography accessory equipment. This course is a prerequisite for all of the remaining positioning modules and is typically scheduled prior to the other modules offered each semester.

After passing IMAG 1101 you may take any of our positioning modules. Each of these are modular courses requiring 12.0 contact hours (0.5 credit hour) with 9 hours devoted to positioning demonstration, practice and evaluation.

IMAG 1102 – Upper Extremities
IMAG 1103 – Lower Extremities
IMAG 1104 – Chest and Abdomen
IMAG 1105 – Skull and Spine

Each clinical positioning module is graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory and you will need to demonstrate to the instructor your ability to perform radiographic procedures by simulating the procedures in our x-ray lab using another student as the "patient."

Once you complete the GXMO license exam successfully and appropriate positioning module course, you can apply for the actual GXMO license.

How long does it take to prepare for the GXMO license at Columbus State?

Two semesters are usually required to complete the GXMO education. IMAG 1190 is taken the first semester. The second semester, IMAG 1101 and other positioning modules are taken.

What license categories does Columbus State provide training for?

We offer training for the following license categories: Chest & Abdomen, Skull & Sinus, Spine, and Extremity. We do not offer training for the Podiatric or Bone Densitometry license categories. In addition to IMAG 1190 and IMAG 1101 required for all categories, the following courses qualify you for the appropriate license category.

  • Extremity Category: IMAG 1102 Upper Extremities and IMAG 1103 Lower Extremities
  • Chest & Abdomen Category: IMAG 1104 Chest & Abdomen
  • Skull & Sinus Category: IMAG 1105 Skull and Spine
  • Spine Category: IMAG 1105 Skull and Spine

What is the Columbus State Community College GXMO Certificate?

Students who successfully complete IMAG 1190, all of the positioning modules, and several other courses in communication, math, biology, medical terminology, and computer information technology qualify to receive a GXMO Radiography Certificate from Columbus State Community College. The specific courses required for the certificate are:

IMAG 1190, IMAG 1101, IMAG 1102, IMAG 1103, IMAG 1104, IMAG 1105, *IMAG 1111, ENGL 1100, MATH 1030, BIO 1100, CSCI 1101, MULT 1010, PHIL 1130

Please note that IMAG 1111 is typically offered Autumn Semester only and may be taken concurrent with IMAG 1190 or any of the other GXMO courses.

If I've taken the GXMO didactic class elsewhere, can I take Columbus State clinical positioning modules for the GXMO license?

Yes, you can. You will need to take IMAG 1101 as a prerequisite to any of the positioning modules. You must provide a copy of your GXMO Didactic course certificate to your IMAG 1101 instructor to waive the IMAG 1190 prerequisite to IMAG 1101.

What is the cost of the GXMO license?

Currently, the cost to take the license exam is $140.00 for each attempt. If you do not pass within one year of completing IMAG 1190, you will have to repeat the didactic course prior to attempting the exam again.

The license application cost is $65 regardless of how many positioning categories you apply for. The license is renewed every other year on your birthday and the renewal fee is $65. When you renew your license, you will have to show evidence that you have completed at least 12 hours of continuing education.

Does Columbus State offer Continuing Education for GXMO licensees?

We do not offer specific continuing education courses for GXMO licensees. However, if you were to upgrade your license by adding a category, you could use one of our 12 hour positioning module courses toward your continuing education requirement. For example if you only have the Chest & Abdomen license category, taking our Skull/Sinus course would count toward your continuing education requirement.

Where can I find out more information about the GXMO license?

You may contact Jeff Rowe, GXMO Program Coordinator at

Additional and current information regarding the Ohio GXMO license can be found at Type "GXMO" into the SEARCH box.