Radiologic technology programs provide instruction on how to use devices to perform medical imaging, such as X-rays. Clinical experiences make up a big part of these programs. Associate's and bachelor's programs prepare students with the basic knowledge for entry-level positions in this field. A high school diploma and submission of SAT or ACT scores are the basic requirements for undergraduate programs. Master's degree programs are designed for radiologic technologists who have certification and licensure, and are seeking positions as radiologist assistants. To enroll in these programs, students are usually required to have a degree from an accredited radiology undergraduate program, certification, and licensure. Many master's programs also require students to have a minimum number of years of experience in radiologic technology. Master's education also involves internships, a thesis, or a capstone project.
Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology
Students in an associate's degree program in radiologic technology become proficient in the fundamentals of radiologic technique, X-ray critique and medical imaging. Students can expect to take science-intensive courses on anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and chemistry. They also learn concepts like healthcare communication, ethics, and legal regulations. Program's courses may include:
- Technology used in radiology
- Procedures for upper body, trunk and total body
- Procedures used for the head
- A study of radiographic exposure
- Radiographic pathology terminology
- Radiographic imaging and protection techniques
Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology
Enrollees in this degree program study radiologic technology procedures as well as management, medical, business, leadership, and healthcare administration principles. Students use medical labs and research opportunities to become proficient in healthcare leadership and radiologic technology management. Courses could include the following:
- Advanced radiologic imaging
- Health care management
- Medical administration principles
- Supervising radiologic technology professionals
- Public health trends
Master of Science in Radiologist Assistant
Master' degree students learn how to perform advanced imaging procedures, including CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and angiography, which is used to determine the location of blood clots. Students in these programs can take advantage of radiology seminars and medical laboratories that teach patient care, healthcare communication, and proper radiologic techniques. Courses may include:
- Health care economics
- Managing medical records
- Evaluating radiologic images
- Clinical preparation for radiologic assistants
- Research studies in radiology
Employment Outlook and Career Information
The radiologic technology sector is expected to grow faster than average occupations, with a projected employment growth of 9% for radiologic technologists and 10% for MRI technologists from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov ). The BLS also noted that there were 197,000 radiologic technologist jobs and in 2014. New technologies like digital medical imaging are making radiologic procedures less expensive and more common, allowing for greater job prospects. Additionally, the aging populations will eventually require more X-rays and radiologic procedures. Physician offices and medical clinics will employ more radiologic technologists, though a majority will remain employed by hospitals.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
With a radiologist assistant master's degree, students can seek ARRT certification as a registered radiologist assistant. Radiologist assistants are higher-level technologists with greater responsibilities, often working with the radiologist to perform imaging procedures and provide patient care. Because of advanced qualifications and responsibilities, radiologist assistants generally have greater salaries and job opportunities than radiologic technologists.
Although certification is not required, licensure is mandatory in many states. Voluntary certification is available from ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists). Some states use the ARRT certification exam as their licensure exam. Technologists may go on to specialize in a particular area, including MRI or mammography. After completing a master's degree program in radiologic technology, students must take a radiologist assistant exam administered by the ARRT, granting them RA certification. To maintain certification from the ARRT, radiologist assistants must meet various educational requirements throughout their career.
An associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in radiologic technology trains students in using different types of radiation and equipment for medical purposes, such as internal imaging. Licensure is mandatory, but graduates can also pursue voluntary certification in order to have better career prospects.