Associate of Specialized Technology (AST): Radiographer Degree Overview

Associate of Specialized Technology (AST) programs in radiography train students to become radiographers. After graduating, students can gain licensure and work in the field.

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Essential Information

Although radiography programs may be found in the Associate of Specialized Technology (AST) degree format, they are more commonly offered in Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science formats. Students in associate's degree programs for radiography learn about radiographic procedures, X-ray image production and radiation safety. They also develop the diagnostic, communication and evaluation skills that radiographers--also known as radiologic technologists or technicians--need through hands-on learning experiences.

These programs can usually be completed in two years or less. For admissions, an applicant must have at least a high school diploma or GED. They must also have completed prerequisite math and science courses prior to enrollment.

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Associate's Degree of Specialized Technology - Radiographer

Coursework commonly includes lectures, lab studies and supervised internships. Workshops and seminars may also be offered. Students spend a designated number of hours in various specialized areas of radiography. Course topics may include:

  • Radiographic anatomy and positioning
  • Radiation protection
  • Radiographic equipment and maintenance
  • Patient care and assessment
  • Darkroom techniques
  • Radiographic exposure

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), radiologic technologists should see job growth of 9% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupation. Demand for these professional will likely remain high because of the increased access to health insurance and the growth of the elderly population. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for radiologic technologists was $56,670.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates of radiography associate's degree programs may pursue bachelor's degree programs or gain work experience and professional certifications to become radiologic assistants or specialists in specific areas of radiography. Although licensing regulations vary from state to state, most states do require radiologic technologists be licensed.

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers certification for technologists who pass an ARRT examination. Although the ARRT certification is technically voluntary, this same exam is used in many states for licensing purposes. Students must complete continuing education requirements every two years in order to maintain certification.

Even though most aspiring radiologists seek an AS or AAS in the field, an AST provides the necessary training for licensure and entry-level work.

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