In order to become a radiology technician or technologist, individuals must have completed an accredited radiology technology program. Programs are available at the associate and bachelor's degree levels as well as the certificate level; however, many employers require at least a two-year degree. Some of these programs are offered online. General radiology experience is required for employment, and more specific imaging experience and certification in MRI, CT or mammography imaging may also be required depending on the particular position.
Associate's in Radiologic Technology
At the two-year degree level, students learn to use radiology equipment on children and adult men and women. They study anatomy and medical terminology and learn to take film, paper and moving images of internal body parts, such as the heart, blood vessels, arteries, pelvis and skull. Some course topics might include:
- General psychology
- Principles of exposure
- Quality assurance
- Radiographic procedures
- Methods of patient care
Bachelor's in Radiologic Technology
A bachelor's degree is becoming a preferred foundation for many radiology technologists. At the four-year degree level, students learn advanced skills in radiographic procedures and imaging analysis. They also study management and business topics specific to the health care industry. Some course topics might include:
- Radiographic positioning
- Diagnostic imaging
- Radiography pathology
- Health physics
- Patient care
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS reports that radiology technicians make a median annual wage of $56,670 as of May 2015. From 2014-2024, the job outlook for radiologic and MRI technologists is expected to grow 9%, according to the BLS.
The majority of states throughout the U.S. have licensure requirements for radiology technicians and technologists, which generally include the completion of an accredited training program and passing of an exam. What's more, many employers are requiring radiologic technologists to be American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)-certified (www.arrt.org); requirements for certification are similar to state licensure requirements. Specific radiologic technology exams are available in such areas as cardiac-interventional radiology, vascular-interventional radiology, CT or MRI. CPR certification is also a critical component to many radiology positions.
Several radiologic technology organizations offer continuing education events throughout the year. Radiology technicians and technologists can attend day-long seminars or week-long conferences and fellowship events. At times, colleges sponsor radiology technology workshops on topics such as sectional imaging and related injuries, as well. Educational events might also include refresher courses and question-and-answer sessions. Radiology technicians and technologists looking for daily development opportunities can look to the websites of professional organizations such as the ARRT or the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (www.asrt.org). Through these websites, they can search for industry-related articles, tips from other radiologic technologists, links to additional relevant sites and information on radiology regulations.
While some certificate programs may provide training for aspiring radiologic technologist, most employers require an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in radiologic technology.