A master's degree in radiography is not typically required for a job in the field or related positions in diagnostic imaging, but could give graduates the potential of securing more advanced positions in healthcare. Here we look at a handful of related career options for those with a master's degree in radiography.
Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Radiography
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Radiologists||$206,920 (for physicians and surgeons, all other)||14% (for physicians and surgeons, all other)|
|Nuclear Medicine Physicians||$206,920 (for physicians and surgeons, all other)||14% (for physicians and surgeons, all other)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Radiologists usually need a master's or doctoral degree to treat patients by examining X-rays. These professionals earn their degree in radiography to learn how to diagnose and treat various injuries, diseases, disorders and more using these diagnostic images. Some radiologists may also be trained to use and interpret results of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) and other diagnostic images. They must be able to communicate the findings to their patients and clearly explain treatment options.
Although radiologic technologists usually need a bachelor's degree, those with a radiography master's degree are often known as radiologic assistants, or advanced practice radiologic technologists. These professionals assist radiologists as they examine patients and use diagnostic imaging equipment. They must protect the exposed areas of a patient that are not being imaged and carefully position the patient to get the clearest image of the desired area. Their work requires them to be in close contact with physicians and radiologists to determine what images need to be taken and if more images are needed after the initial examination.
Some health educators may need a master's degree, and although they do not work with diagnostic imaging directly, a background in radiography may help them develop specific health programs looking at common injuries, diseases and other conditions that require these images for diagnosis and treatment. Especially if they have worked as a radiologist prior to becoming a health educator in the community, they may have a unique perspective on some of the particular health needs of the area based on the injuries and illnesses they encountered on the job. Health educators also provide the public with health information and connect them to community resources that are available. They must constantly be evaluating the effectiveness and need of their program, as well as advocating for additional resources.
Nuclear Medicine Physicians
Typically to hold the title of physician one needs to have a doctoral degree, but some professionals in nuclear medicine may only need a master's degree. These professionals also use diagnostic imaging, with which a background in radiography would prove helpful, but they examine these images after giving the patient small amounts of radioactive materials. These materials then highlight various normal or abnormal areas in the patient to help physicians determine the problem. Nuclear medicine physicians must carefully calculate and administer the proper amount of radioactive material to ensure the safety of the patient.
Physician assistants usually have a master's degree, and a background in radiography may help them understand additional ways to diagnose and treat their patients using diagnostic imaging. These assistants are qualified to examine patients and order X-rays, blood tests and other medical tests to help diagnose a wide variety of injuries, illnesses and other medical conditions. They can also prescribe medication, set broken bones and provide other forms of basic treatment. Physician assistants must be able to explain treatment options to their patients, answer any of their patients' questions and monitor a patient's progress.
Although there are not a lot of careers that use radiography directly, several careers use other forms of diagnostic imaging technology and/or can apply the knowledge gained from these exams. A master's degree in the field prepares students for advanced positions in healthcare that are expected to show higher-than-average rates of growth in the future.