A degree program in medical imaging technology covers magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and radiography. Graduates of these programs can go on to become technologists who are able to not only administer the applications, but also determine which technology is best suited for the medical situation. While certificate or associate degree programs are available in each of these separate technologies, an associate or bachelor's degree in medical imaging technology covers all of them. Graduates can also pursue certification in the field.
Applicants to both a two year associate's and four year bachelor's degree must have a high school diploma or the equivalent, as well as current licensure and registration with ARRT. Students may have the opportunity to specialize in topics like radiologic technology or sonography.
Associate's Degree in Medical Imaging Technology
Most associate's degree programs for medical imaging technology are designed as pre-professional programs for students intending to transfer to a 4-year college or university program. The curriculum covers much of the prerequisite work for a bachelor's degree in medical imaging technology, including math, science, and medical health coursework. Along with general education, courses will include:
- Human anatomy
- Patient positioning and care
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Bachelor's Degree in Medical Imaging Technology
Bachelor's degree programs in medical imaging technology prepare students for careers working with a range of imaging processes. Curriculum for a medical imaging technology program combines classroom work with laboratory or clinical work. Topics may include:
- Imaging techniques
- Radiographic positioning
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology
- Medical safety and ethics
Salary Information and Career Outlook
Employment in the diagnostic medical sonography (which includes medical imaging) field is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate of 26% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who have experience in multiple imaging technologies will find the best opportunities. Median wages were $68,970 annually in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Popular Career Options
A degree in medical imaging technology provides training in several specialized areas, opening a range of career options. Popular job titles include:
- Radiologic technologist
- CT technologists
- MRI technologist
- Diagnostic medical sonographer
- Ultrasound technician
Certification and Continuing Education
Students who complete a bachelor's degree program in medical imaging technology may be eligible for certification by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography as well as the ARRT. In addition to certification, both of these organizations provide resources for continuing education and professional networking.
Completion of an accredited associate's degree program is sufficient for a career as a radiographer. However, completion of a bachelor's degree in medical imaging technology can provide an advantage in the job market. The ARRT provides professional certification in this field, and continuing education is required to maintain certification.
Associate's and bachelor's degrees in imaging technology teach students a variety of skills concerning the operation of equipment for creating images of inside the human body, with options to specialize in specific techniques. Careers are plentiful and fast growing, and there are several options for professional certification and continuing education courses.