Radiology Majors and Undergraduate Degree Programs
Learn about degrees in radiologic science. Get information on associate and bachelor's degrees, program requirements and career prospects to make an informed decision about your education.
Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Science
Students enrolled in 2-year radiologic technology or radiology programs take courses and complete clinical rotations that prepare them to become radiology technicians, who specialize in making images of the body's soft tissues and internal structures. These programs sometimes include required summer sessions and may require that students take courses in an exact sequence.
Some programs offer the option of specializing in a certain area of radiologic science, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) or ultrasound. Graduates of radiologic technology degree programs are eligible to take the required national certifying examination for radiology technicians.
Prospective students must have completed high school, with a transcript showing adequate marks in algebra, chemistry and biology. Many programs require a personal interview and a written personal statement. Applicants must complete a CPR for Professional Healthcare Provider certification course.
Most associate degree programs in radiology take 2 years to complete. Coursework is intensive; students can expect to complete around 80 credit hours. Potential courses include:
- Radiographic clinical procedures
- Radiation protection
- Image production and evaluation
- Patient positioning
- Anatomy and physiology
- Equipment operation and maintenance
Popular Career Options
Some career options may require more experience or additional coursework beyond the associate degree. These include:
- Radiation therapist
- Radiologic technician or technologist
- Nuclear medicine technologist
Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology
Several universities offer bachelor's degree completion programs for students who already hold an associate degree in radiologic technology. Some of these programs may be completed through distance education, allowing students to complete their bachelor's degree while working. Radiology technicians with bachelor's degrees may enhance their earning potential and qualify for managerial jobs.
Education Prerequisites and Program Coursework
The vast majority of bachelor's degree programs require candidates to already have completed an associate degree in radiologic technology. These programs often include courses in clinical practice, radiobiology and pathophysiology. Other potential courses include:
- Healthcare law and policy
- Introduction to medical research
- Advanced radiologic science
- Human resource management
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that, as of May 2008, the median salary for degree-holding radiology technicians and technologists was $52,210 (www.bls.gov). However, this figure ranged between $35,000 and $74,000 depending on the candidate's geographic location and qualifications. Demand for radiology technologists and technicians was expected to increase by 17% between 2008 and 2018.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of bachelor's degree programs may wish to go on to enter a master's degree program in radiologic technology. While rare, these degree programs are designed for candidates interested in teaching radiologic science at the college level or working in executive management of radiologic imaging departments. Most programs are offered during nights and weekends to accommodate students' daytime work schedules. After completing a graduate program, students are eligible to take the examination for one of radiology's highest professional certifications, the Certified Radiology Administrator (CRA) designation, according to CRAinfo.org.
In addition, most states require radiologic technicians and therapists to be licensed; requirements for licensure, however, vary by state, typically entailing an examination and holding a degree or other type of certification.
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