In radiologist technology programs, students learn skills in patient positioning, radiology safety, legal issues, and image processing through a combination of lecture-based courses and clinical practica. While associate's programs qualify graduates for certification and entry-level positions in the field, bachelor's programs are often designed for professional radiologic technologists seeking career advancement.
Associate Degree in Radiologic Technology
Radiologic technology students are trained in the use of medical X-ray equipment, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT). Students enrolled in school programs at the associate degree level gain the specific skills needed for immediate entry to the radiology workforce and professional certification in the field.
College applicants to an associate degree program in radiologic technology are often required to have a high school diploma and have taken prerequisite classes in biology, physics, and algebra. Some schools may require a college placement exam. At the two-year associate degree level, future radiology technicians are required to enroll in general education classes. They also study core topics in radiologic technology, such as:
- Radiographic equipment operations
- Radiation protection
- Principles of radiation quality
- Patient care procedures
- Clinical procedures
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Bachelor's Degree in Radiologic Technology
College programs at the bachelor's degree level are generally geared toward professional radiologist technicians looking to gain further knowledge in their field. Students build on skills learned at the 2-year college level. They develop critical-thinking and advanced researching skills. A bachelor's degree in radiologic technology often qualifies radiology technicians for positions of greater responsibility and expertise.
Usually, radiologist technicians who have graduated from college with a 2-year degree have the minimum coursework requirements for admission to a bachelor's degree program. If they have not completed an associate's degree prior, students are generally required to have a high school diploma, standardized test scores, and letters of recommendation to enroll. Students participate in lectures, hands-on lab work and leadership programs. Topics of study include:
- Healthcare legalities and ethics
- Disease and the body
- Advanced radiation imaging training
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
From 2014-2024, employment of radiologic technologists and technicians is predicted to rise 9%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The same government agency noted that in 2015, health technologists and technicians, including radiologist technicians, earned an average salary of $58,520 annually.
Professional Certification and Continuing Education Information
Most states require radiologist technicians to be licensed. Additionally, graduates of a radiologist technician school can earn voluntary certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Applicants must have earned a certificate or degree from an accredited program and pass a skills assessment. In order to maintain certification, individuals must meet continuing schooling requirements every two years.
Popular Career Options
Though college-trained radiology technicians work mainly in hospitals, jobs are also available in diagnostic imaging centers, physicians' offices and outpatient care facilities. Those with advanced radiologist technician degrees tend to have more earning potential. Specific job titles might include:
- X-ray technician
- CT technologist
- Interventional radiological technologist
- Diagnostic imaging supervisor
- Radiologic equipment salesperson
Radiologic technology bachelor's and associate's degrees teach students the fundamentals of using radiation equipment in a clinical setting in the most safe and effective way possible. These programs can qualify you for work as soon as you graduate, as well as allow you to earn the mandatory certification you need to practice.