Associate of Medical Radiography: Program Summary

Oct 13, 2019

Medical radiography involves the process of producing films, X-rays, or digital pictures for the purpose of assisting doctors with patient diagnoses. Individuals interested in working as medical radiographers can pursue an associate degree in this field.

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Essential Information

Participants in medical radiography associate degree programs examine bodily systems and structures as well as the diseases that affect them. Through lectures and laboratory instruction, they learn to operate and maintain radiology equipment.

Medical radiography associate degree programs typically require a full-time commitment, with the curriculum usually taking 21-24 months to complete. Prerequisites include courses in anatomy and physiology, physics or chemistry, algebra, medical vocabulary, communication, English composition, and psychology. Letters of recommendation might also be required.

An associate degree can be considered a terminal degree and qualifies graduates for entry-level work in the field. Prior to obtaining employment, most states require technologists to become licensed by passing an examination. They must also participate in continuing education to qualify for license renewal.

Associate Degree in Medical Radiography

Prior to participating in fieldwork, students must usually earn first aid and CPR certification as well as undergo a criminal background and drug test. Labs and lectures in this program cover topics such as:

  • Radiation safety
  • Patient care and positioning practices
  • Contrast media imaging
  • X-ray image processing
  • Radiation pharmacology
  • Intravenous therapy procedures

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Radiologic technologists work in outpatient centers, hospitals, doctors' offices, and clinics. As of 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports an annual median salary of $59,520 in this field. Additionally, employment of radiologic technologists was predicted to rise 9% from 2018-2028, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Most states require radiologic technologists to obtain licensure, which can often be completed by meeting education requirements and passing an exam. In fact, many states use the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists' (ARRT) certification exam to test licensee applicants. Additionally, individuals who graduate from an ARRT-accredited school may pursue voluntary certification and registration through the agency, a credential often preferred by employers. To maintain ARRT credentials, individuals must renew their registration annually and complete continuing education courses every two years.

Graduates who decide to continue their education can become skilled in related fields, such as diagnostic medical sonography, computed tomography, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine technology, or magnetic resonance imaging. These advanced training options may be available through specialty certificate or bachelor's degree programs.

An associate degree program in medical radiography combines lab and lecture courses to prepare students to take the AART exams often required for licensure and begin careers in entry-level positions as radiographic technologists.

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