Students in diagnostic radiology associate's degree programs take core courses and electives on campus while gaining clinical experience in the radiology departments of local hospitals. An A.S. degree may be designed to transfer to a 4-year institution, while an A.A.S. typically prepares students to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. Under federal guidelines, students must be 18 or above to begin a clinical education.
Associate's Degrees in Diagnostic Radiology
Diagnostic radiology uses imaging modalities to determine disease, and radiographs are generated via x-ray to help the diagnostician study bony and soft tissue components. Since a radiographer works under the supervision of a radiologist, students are taught the professional ethics of radiology and how to comply with the profession's scope of practice.
They also learn proper x-ray techniques and theory and how to protect a patient from excessive radiation. Proper positioning of the patient is taught, and students learn how to apply mathematical knowledge to determine exposure factors. Courses include:
- Principles of radiographic exposure
- Anatomy and physiology
- Imaging physics
- Digital image acquisition
- Radiation protection
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Employment of radiologic and MRI technologists is projected to increase 9% during the decade of 2014 through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, these workers made the median annual wage of $58,120 in May 2015.
Many states require working radiologic technologists to be licensed, which may require them to pass an exam in addition to graduating from a vocational program. Graduates of an associate's degree program may consider a bachelor's degree in nuclear medicine technology or diagnostic medical sonography. Specialized courses in radiology, such as computed tomography (CT) or fluoroscopy are taught at schools across the nation. Graduates may be able to enhance their employment prospects by earning the optional ARRT certification.
Aspiring radiologic and MRI technologists can enroll in a 2-year associate's degree program in diagnostic radiology to receive the training needed to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) registry examination and become licensed radiologic technologists.