Radiologic technologists use advanced equipment to create internal images of the human body for diagnostic and treatment purposes. Through classroom instruction and clinical experiences, radiologic technology programs teach students about mammography and CAT scan technology, as well as diagnostic imaging and radiologic science. Licensing may be an option for radiologic technicians and technologists in certain states. Passing a qualifying examination is required. Voluntary certifications may also be earned and retained by passing a test and participating in continuing education classes.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, and possibly, current CPR certification. Most schools recommend completion of high school courses in algebra, geometry, chemistry, biology and physics. Some bachelor's programs may require applicants have a certificate or an associate's degree, as well as previous college-level anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and health care practice introductory coursework prior to admission.
Certificate in Radiologic Technology
While many hospitals have training programs, certificate programs are available at colleges and universities as well. A number of schools combine the certificate program with a bachelor's degree program. Programs focus on the many aspects of radiologic technology, such as proper positioning and safety when using imaging equipment. The program also touches on sub-specialties such as CT or CAT scan, MRI and mammography. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions and are eligible to become certified and licensed radiologic technologists. Course topics include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Ethics for radiography
- Radiography exposure
Associate of Radiologic Technology
Associate degree programs in radiologic technology focus on the various types of diagnostic imaging procedures, including general radiography, fluoroscopy and pediatric radiography, along with sub-specialties, such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and nuclear medicine. An internship or clinical experience is usually included. Some courses include:
- Radiography and positioning
- Patient care for radiologic technologists
- Skeletal anatomy
- The physics of radiation
- Principles of radiologic exposure
- Computer applications in imaging
Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology
A bachelor's degree program in radiologic technology offers a more intensive look at equipment and procedures used by a radiologic technologist. Clinical experience is usually included as well. Many programs are meant for practicing radiologic technologists who are looking to advance in the field. Several schools also have a program option for those entering as a high school graduate. Some course topics include:
- Radiologic patient care
- Anatomy and physiology
- How drugs affect the body
- Advanced radiologic science
- Radiology equipment and quality assurance
- Law and ethical applications of diagnostic imaging
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree program can set the groundwork for a career as a radiologic technologist and possibly some related or advanced jobs. Possible job titles include:
- Lead radiologic technologist
- Diagnostic imaging center director
- Radiologic equipment sales associate
- Radiological program director
- Lead radiologic technician
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS predicted employment of radiologic technologists will increase by 9% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). Opportunities may be best for those with specialized training in more than one diagnostic imaging procedure, such as CT scanning or MRI. The average salary of a radiologic technologist was $61,540, as reported by the BLS in May 2018.
Licensing, Certification and Continuing Education,
Most states license radiologic technicians and technologists, but requirements vary depending on the state and the scope of practice. The American Society of Radiologic Technologists keeps a list of licensing requirements for each state on its website (www.asrt.org). In many states, licensing involves an exam, and several states use the certification exam offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists to meet licensing requirements.
In addition to the national exam, the voluntary certification program generally requires educational preparation and adherence to a code of ethics (www.arrt.org). Accredited certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree programs are likely to meet the educational requirements. Those who become certified must fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain certification. Continuing education is available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, along with the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.
Radiologic technologists have the option of earning a certificate, associate's degree and a bachelor's degree to become certified and licensed. Degree level dictates salary and job opportunities.