Online Bachelor's Degree in Radiologic Science
As a radiographer or radiologic technologist, you're called upon to perform diagnostic imaging examinations. These can include such specialties as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scans, mammography and x-rays. Learn about online programs, how to choose one, what topics will be covered and employment outlook. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
How Can I Qualify for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Radiologic Science?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in order to qualify as a radiologic technologist or technician, you may only be required to hold a certificate or associate's degree in an area related to radiologic science. However, for advancement and specialization, you may be required to earn a bachelor's degree.
Most online bachelor's degree programs in radiologic science are offered as degree-completion programs. In order to qualify for admission, you must first have completed an accredited associate's degree program in radiologic science. In addition, depending on the school, you must either be certified as a radiologic technologist (RT) or be eligible to sit for a certification examination. According to ARRT, who administers the exams, after 2015, you must hold an associate's degree to be eligible to sit for a certification exam. Up to that time, you may sit for a certification exam if you've completed an ARRT-approved, non-degree granting program.
You should note that ARRT certification is often used by states as at least part of their licensing requirements for radiologic technologists. The BLS asserts that licensing requirements vary by state. Your individual state's board of health can advise you about its licensure procedures.
|Prerequisites||Associate's degree, certification (or eligible to sit for certification exam)|
|Program Accreditation||Through the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology|
|Common Courses||Clinical ethics, imaging informatics, pathophysiology, radiologic physics|
|Job Growth*||9% for radiologic technologists for 2014-2024, 10% for MRI techs|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How Can I Find a Program?
One of the best sources you can use to locate a suitable program is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). At its website, JRCERT maintains a directory of schools that offer accredited programs in radiologic technology, which meet American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) standards. Programs include those delivered on campus and online. You may also find a suitable program through the online database of postsecondary institutions maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics.
What Can I Expect to Learn?
Degree-completion programs generally take two years to finish. However, since these programs are geared to working, certified RTs, you may have the option of pursuing one on a part-time basis. In that case, you may be allowed more than two years to complete all requirements. With the addition of your associate's degree credits, your completed degree program will consist of about 120-127 credits.
Some typical courses you might encounter include pathophysiology, clinical ethics, pharmacology, imaging informatics and radiologic physics. You may choose a specialization or area of emphasis such as MRI, CT, mammography or bone densitometry. You accomplish specialization by enrolling in an extra number of elective courses in that specific area.
Clinical requirements will most often have been fulfilled during your associate's degree program. However, if a school's a bachelor's degree-completion program entails clinical components, you must complete them in person. Usually, you can accomplish this at your place of employment.
What Should I Know about the Outlook for the Occupation?
The BLS projected that employment opportunities for radiologic technologists will increase 9% from 2014-2024; a 10% growth will be seen for MRI technologists in this time (www.bls.gov). These are faster than the national average for all occupations. The reason for this may be that as the population ages, there is a greater call for diagnostic imaging, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring imaging for a growing number of patients.
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