Forensic radiography programs are designed to familiarize radiology professionals with the forensic processes of evidence recording, evidence collecting, and pattern recognition skills. These programs are typically available for radiologic technologists, radiographers, imaging technicians, and radiologists who are interested in applying their skills to the field of forensics and often offered as continuing education credits for the members of professional radiography associations. Students learn to examine diagnostic images from a forensic standpoint to help compile evidence that can be later used in court. Such programs are rare, but not unheard of, in the United States, although they can be commonly found throughout the United Kingdom.
Forensic Radiography Certificate
Forensic radiography is a specific branch of the radiography field. Forensic radiographers are radiographic technologists who take images of the interior organs of critical trauma patients or deceased patients to determine cause of injury or death. There are no degree programs specifically in the field, but some schools and organizations do offer forensic radiography certificate programs. Continuing education and certificate programs in forensic radiography are only available in the United States to those individuals who are already practicing radiographers or radiologic technicians. Therefore, individuals must have completed either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree in radiography or radiologic science. They might also be certified by an organization such as the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Programs in forensic radiography and radiology often consist of just one course or a series of courses offered through a school or professional organization. These courses cover the topics of:
- Introduction to forensic science
- Forensic radiology
- Chain of evidence
- Pattern recognition in diagnostic images
- Body identification methods
- Disease identification
Career Outlook and Salary
It is rare for medical professionals to hold the title of forensic radiologist in the United States. It is more common for radiology professionals to complete continuing education seminars and courses in the field and practice it on a case-by-case basis. Some professionals who might benefit from such instruction include:
- Radiologic technologists
- Radiographic assistants
- Radiographic technicians
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed radiologic technologists is projected to grow 21% from 2014-2024, which is significantly faster than average. The BLS reports that radiologic technologists and technicians earned average salaries of $58,520 as of May 2015.
There are no organizations that offer certification specifically in the field of forensic radiography. Some international associations, such as the International Association of Forensic Radiographers, do offer membership to radiology professionals who are interested in participating in this specialized field.
Forensic radiography degrees do not exist, and certificates are more likely to be offered for continuing education reasons only.