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General X-Ray Machine Operator

photo of operator
General X-Ray Machine Operator (GXMO Certificate)

This certificate program meets the requirements of the Ohio Revised Code (3701-72-01 to 3701-72-04) for a General X-Ray Machine Operator. It is designed to meet the learning needs of adults wishing to enter the imaging field of radiography with a limited license. Ohio Law provides two avenues to obtain a license in Radiography for imaging of humans. The limited license (General X-ray Machine Operator) provides opportunities for employment primarily in out-patient facilities which use film-based and/or digital-based imaging systems.

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
  • Develop additional clinical skills needed for employment in subspecialty areas in imaging. Examples include podiatry, chiropractic, general practitioner, outpatient imaging facilities, etc.

GXMO Certificate Application
GXMO Certificate Plan of Study

GXMO FAQ sheet

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. The Ohio Department of Health grants a GXMO license to individuals who complete appropriate training. The license authorizes them to perform certain x-ray exams under certain conditions. For example, a GXMO licensee with the chest/abdomen category only can 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 RAD 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 RAD 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 RAD 1190. To qualify for a license, you must pass this exam within one year after completing RAD 1190. Otherwise, you must retake 1190 to try the test again.   The exam is offered once each month and costs $100 per attempt.
  • Clinical courses. After passing RAD 1190 you can then take RAD 1101. This modular course (0.5 credit hour; 12 contact hours) covers film and computed image processing, positioning terminology, basic patient care, and radiography accessory equipment. This course is a prerequisite for all of the remaining positioning modules. RAD 1101 is typically scheduled early in the semester so that you can also complete positioning modules during the same semester.

After passing RAD 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.

RAD 1102 – Upper Extremities
RAD 1103 – Lower Extremities
RAD 1104 – Chest and Abdomen
RAD 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. RAD 1190 is taken the first semester. The second semester, RAD 1101 and other positioning modules are taken.

How often is the GXMO license exam offered?

The GXMO license exam is offered the 2nd Monday of each month at noon in the Columbus area.

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 RAD 1190 and RAD 1101 required for all categories, the following courses qualify you for the appropriate license category.

Extremity Category: RAD 1102 Upper Extremities and RAD 1103 Lower Extremities

Chest & Abdomen Category: RAD 1104 Chest & Abdomen

Skull & Sinus Category: RAD 1105 Skull and Spine

Spine Category: RAD 1105 Skull and Spine

What is the Columbus State Community College GXMO Certificate?

Students who successfully complete RAD 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:

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

Please note that RAD 1111 has been added to the Certificate Plan of Study. This course offers more detailed information on the care of patients during radiography. It is typically offered Fall Semester and may be taken concurrent with RAD 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 RAD 1101 as a prerequisite to any of the positioning modules. You must provide a copy of your GXMO Didactic course certificate to your RAD 1101 instructor to waive the RAD 1190 prerequisite to RAD 1101.

What is the cost of the GXMO license?

Currently, the cost to take the license exam is $100.00 for each attempt. If you do not pass within one year of completing RAD 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. However, repeating a positioning module for which you already have a category license will not fulfill the 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.