AAS in Radiologic Technology: Degree Overview
Associate's degrees in radiologic technology are designed to provide individuals with the comprehensive training and clinical experience needed for employment as competent entry-level radiologic technologists, technicians or related professionals. These programs most often result in an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, and usually take five semesters --about two and a half years-- of full-time study to complete.
In an AAS radiologic technology program students learn to operate radiation equipment, follow instructions from physicians and adhere to crucial safety protocols. The curricula typically consist of coursework and lab sessions in health and technology courses, as well as clinical rotations. During clinical rotations, students can gain experience working with patients and operating equipment under supervision in an actual healthcare setting.
- Program Levels in Radiologic Technology: Associate's degree
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED, background check, updated immunizations
- Program Length: Two and a half years
- Other Requirements: Clinical rotations
Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology
Individuals enrolled in the program learn to use radiologic equipment, such as x-ray, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, to help doctors diagnose patients. Some programs may also include classes in anatomy and physiology, algebra and psychology. Students can also encounter courses in topics such as:
- Radiographic procedures
- Exposure principles
- Imaging equipment
- Radiation protection
- Radiographic positioning
Popular Career Options
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) reported that, while many radiologic technologists and technicians work in hospitals, opportunities are also available in imaging centers and physician's offices (www.bls.gov). They interact with patients, explaining the procedures to them and helping them through the process. Throughout a procedure, they are concerned with both the patient's safety and their own. Some career titles in radiologic technology can include:
- Radiologic technician
- CT technologist
- Radiological technologist
- MRI technologist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
A faster- than-average employment growth of 21% was predicted for radiologic technologists and technicians by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2012 and 2022. These professionals earned an annual median salary of $55,870 in 2014, the BLS reported.
Continuing Education and Licensure Information
The BLS indicates that most states have varying licensing standards for radiologic technologists, though most states do require licensure. A common requirement is passing a state-approved licensing examination, such as the exam offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Once certified, individuals must meet continuing education requirements to maintain their eligibility.
Though less commonly offered than associate degree programs, bachelor's degree programs in radiologic technology are also available. These programs may offer students a greater amount of clinical experience opportunities, as well as additional coursework in areas like management information systems or marketing. This could be appealing to a student who plans to eventually enroll in a master's degree program in order to obtain an administrative position in the healthcare field. Combination associate and bachelor's degree programs are also available, where students may complete a 2-year radiologic technology program and go on to complete a 4-year program in a subject like allied health.