Wisconsin Portable X-ray Regulations

Dec 15, 2022 7:15:59 AM / by Chad Hutchison

The State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services manages all x-ray personnel licensing in the state. 

X-ray License in Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 462, requires that any person who operates a portable x-ray machine, and is not exempt from the law, shall obtain a license or permit to perform radiography or limited-scope radiographic procedures.


  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Pass required exam (Visit the ARRT Examination site for information)

For more information, visit the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Licensing page.

Registering an X-ray Device

Wisconsin works to minimize the public's unnecessary exposure to radiation by inspecting and registering all x-ray for compliance with state radiation protection regulations.

Regulations for Portable X-ray Equipment

State Of Wisconsin, Department Of Health Services, Division Of Public Health, Bureau Of Environmental And Occupational Health, Radiation Protection Section.

Specific regulations for portable and mobile x-ray machines:

  • DHS 157 defines mobile x-ray equipment as mounted on a permanent base with wheels and/or casters for moving while completely assembled; portable x-ray equipment is defined as hand-carried. Battery-operated, hand-held dental x-ray devices must be approved by DHS prior to use.
  • The x-ray machine operator must be positioned so that his/her exposure to scatter radiation is as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). *The operator shall remain 2 meters (6.5 feet) or more away from the tube and patient unless behind a barrier. The operator should never be in line with the direct beam.
  • If the x-ray machine operator must be closer than 2 meters (6.5 feet) from the patient or tube, the operator must wear a lead apron. Lead aprons must be available at any location where a mobile or portable device is used, i.e., typically aprons are stored with or on a mobile or portable device.
  • If using a portable or mobile device in the same location for more than one week, the equipment is considered stationary and must meet all the requirements of a stationary unit.
  • No person may hold the x-ray tube housing during the exposure. A stand or other means of support shall be used during the exposure. There is the possibility of electric shock from improper grounding if the machine is held.


Disclaimer: The information in this document is solely for reference material. Regulations change often. To be sure of the most up-to-date laws, contact your local and state agencies.

Additional Resources

Bureau of Health Service Professions

Division of Board Services

Wisconsin Dept. of Regulation and Licensing

P.O. Box 8935

Madison, WI 53708-8935

Wisconsin Radiology License

Radiation Protection Section

P.O. Box 2659

Madison, Wisconsin 53701-2659

(608) 267-4797

Tags: Portable X-ray Regulations

Chad Hutchison

Written by Chad Hutchison