During the two-year course of study for an associate degree, the radiographer learns about patient positioning, radiation safety, patient care techniques, and evaluation of images through classroom study and supervised work experiences. These programs prepare graduates to earn necessary licensure or certification in the field. Radiographers often assist physicians in procedures that examine the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts and can pursue training in specialties such as mammography or nuclear imaging. A high school diploma or GED is required. Studying algebra for two years in high school, as well as completing a physics or general science course, is recommended. Some schools want students to complete general degree courses, such as English and social studies, before admission to the medical radiography program.
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Associate of Medical Radiography
Radiographers work in hospitals, outpatient clinics or physician's offices. Students take courses that build their knowledge of anatomy, radiologic technology and diagnostic procedures. An internship in a health care facility is usually required. Courses may include:
- Legal topics for radiography
- Basics of CT
- Physics of imaging
- Imaging in the operating room
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment for all types of radiologic technologists should increase by 9% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), faster than many other occupations (www.bls.gov). The median annual wage for radiologic technologists was $56,670 in May 2015, the BLS reported.
Professional Certification and Continuing Education
Radiographers can expand their options through training in specialty areas such as mammography and bone densitometry. Radiographers who hold associate degrees may pursue bachelor's degrees in radiation science. Those interested in administrative positions may wish to obtain a master's degree in the field.
Most states require licensing for radiologic technologists. Several states use the certification exam from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) as their licensing standard. Students who have completed an accredited training program and who pass the ARRT examination can be certified. In addition, ARRT offers certification in several specialty areas. Certified technologists must register their certifications with ARRT every year and demonstrate proof of continuing education every other year.
Individuals in an associate's degree program in medical radiography exposes students to coursework in anatomy, imaging, technology, and procedures. After completion of these classes and internship opportunity, students can continue on with state certifications to be licensed and begin careers as a radiologic technologist.