Students learn the proper procedures used to x-ray the human body and the proper use of x-ray protection gear. They also gain knowledge of imaging principles, quality assurance, patient care, radiobiology and anatomy.
An associate's degree in radiography may help graduates qualify for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists certification exam and obtain an entry-level position as a radiologist technician or technologist. Graduates may work in medical labs, physicians' offices or for government agencies. Most states require licensure and/or professional certification in order to work.
Students can specialize in nuclear medicine scanning, computed tomography, ultrasound, angiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or fluoroscopy. Applicants will need a minimum GPA, transcript, and possibly SAT or ACT scores.
Associate Degree Programs in Radiography Overview
Many colleges require a student to complete prerequisite courses to gain entry into the program. Hospitals will remain the number one employer of radiologic technologists, but work may be found in private clinics, doctors' offices and diagnostic imaging centers. Licensure through ARRT is required in 40 states, with voluntary certifications available.
Job Outlook and Career Options
The job outlook for a radiologic technologist is solid, with a projected growth of 9% within the decade of 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015 the BLS lists the mean annual salary for radiologic technologists as $58,520.
New technological advances are being made that makes it important that radiologic technologists continually seek training in new equipment areas to stay current. However, BLS warns that this new technology may not be deemed advantageous to a hospital due to high cost and billing issues.
Licensing, Certification and Continuing Education Information
Technicians and technologists, who use radiation in their work, were required (in 2013) to obtain licensure in almost 40 states before seeking a position (American Society of Radiologic Technologists data). Graduates may pursue a voluntary certification offered by ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists). Some states use the ARRT certification as their licensure exam. Additional training in areas of specialization (i.e. nuclear medicine scanning, computed tomography, ultrasound, angiography, MRI or fluoroscopy), may increase the chances of obtaining a job, advancing or earning higher wages. Seeking additional degrees (i.e. a master's) can qualify a radiologic technologist for a radiologist assistant position, according to BLS.
While the program length for an associate's degree in radiography is just 2 years, students will still commit a significant amount of time to state licensure and professional certification through organizations like ARRT. Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile endeavor as the demand for radiologic technologists is projected to grow by 9% over the next decade.