A 2-year Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology program teaches the basics of radiology and prepares students for entry-level opportunities. Completion of relevant coursework could be required for admission. Both associate's and bachelor's programs can prepare students for certification or licensure as radiologic technologists. Though requirements can vary by state, they typically include completion of an approved training program and a certification exam. Those who want to directly assist radiologists might participate in a Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences program.
Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology
An associate's degree program in radiologic technology introduces students to the fundamentals of radiology, covering areas like radiation safety, patient positioning and how to operate imaging units. Most programs can be completed in two years or less, and teach students the skills and medical knowledge necessary to work as entry-level technologists.
Most associate's degree programs require that applicants hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. Many programs ask applicants to complete certain college-level courses before enrolling, such as human anatomy and college algebra. The curriculum of most radiology associate's degree programs combines general education coursework with instruction on how to work in various environments, such as hospitals, extended care facilities and nursing homes. Other coursework could include the following:
- Equipment in radiology
- Radiographic pathology
- Radiographic processing
Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology
Most bachelor's degree programs in the field lead to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Radiologic Technology. These programs introduce students to advanced subjects related to the field and generally take four years or less to complete. Bachelor's programs in radiologic technology are designed either for students who are already registered as radiologic technologists and wish to further their education or for students with no experience in the field who wish to complete their training while earning a degree. Students with no prior training must enroll in an approved school of radiologic technology, where they will complete the clinical training requirements of the bachelor's program.
Students applying to a bachelor's degree program must hold either a high school diploma or an associate's degree. Certain prerequisite human anatomy or biology courses may be required to enroll. The curriculum of a bachelor's degree program in radiologic technology may be similar to that of an associate's degree program. A bachelor's degree program provides an in-depth study of the field, and teaches students to become more proficient radiologic technologists. Coursework could include:
- Patient care
- Medical terminology
- Clinical experience in radiology
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Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences
Master's degree programs in radiologic sciences prepare students to become radiologist assistants, a relatively new occupation in the health field. Holding a master's degree in the field offers graduates more employment opportunities and chances to participate in research projects. In most cases, students can earn their master's degree in two years, but it could take longer to complete clinical training.
Students enrolling in a master's program are generally required to hold a bachelor's degree in a related radiology field. Most programs require applicants to have professional experience in the field and be certified radiologic technologists before enrolling. The curriculum of a master's degree program involves specific and advanced radiology coursework, with emphasis placed on clinical experience gained through hands-on radiology work. Coursework may include the following:
- Patient interactions in radiology
- Research methods
- Chest and invasive procedures
- Leadership studies
Employment Outlook & Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the employment outlook for radiologic technologists was expected to grow by 9% between 2014-2024, which is faster than average (www.bls.gov). BLS data also showed that radiologic technologists earned a median salary of $56,670 as of 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Associate's degree programs prepare students to become certified as radiologic technologists, a requirement for employment in the radiology field. Certification requirements vary by state, but generally students must graduate from an approved program and pass a certification exam to gain their credentials and begin work.
To summarize, students interested in radiology degree programs have several options at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to in class coursework, most of these degree programs require hands-on learning through clinical experience.