Radiography Degree Programs

Radiologic technicians administer X-rays to diagnose a patient's physical condition. Find out what you'll study in a radiography certificate or degree program, what is required for licensure and professional certification, and information on job growth and wages. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degree Programs Are Available in Radiography?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can earn a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in radiography to work in the field. The BLS further states that the Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science are the most common credentials for radiologic technicians or technologists.

You may also become a radiologic technician by completing an undergraduate certificate program. Though a certificate is an education credential, it does not include any general education requirements. As such, your duties would be limited to x-rays, and you'd need further training to advance in your career.

Whatever education program you decide to pursue, you should choose a program that is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). JRCERT is one of the accrediting organizations accepted by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). ARRT is the accepted certifying agency for the field of radiologic sciences. You can locate appropriate schools and programs through online directories maintained by both ARRT and JRCERT.

Degree Levels Certificate, associate, bachelor's
Common Courses Patient care and assessment, anatomy and physiology, physics, radiobiology; clinical training sessions are required
Licensure/Certification Exam given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
Job Growth*9% for radiologic technologists for 2014-2024

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect in a Program?

In a degree program, you'll be required to complete a specified number of general education courses in addition to radiography-related courses. Typical courses you might encounter may include anatomy and physiology, patient care and assessment, equipment and procedures, radiobiology, physics and pathology.

The JRCERT directory lists on-campus and online programs; however, online programs are actually partially online. In addition to didactic instruction that can be accessed online, you will still have to complete hands-on training. Hands-on training might consist of labs, practicums and internships. You must complete these components in-person, at a school-approved medical facility.

If you hold an associate's degree, you may qualify for a degree-completion program, leading to a Bachelor of Science. Completion of any degree program may qualify you to sit for an ARRT-administered examination leading to certification as a radiologic technologist (R.T.). Your clinical experiences and elective courses will make you eligible to sit for a specialized certification exam in an area such as densitometry, CT, MRI, mammography or sonography.

Why Do I Need Licensure?

For the safety of patients and practitioners, most states require you to be licensed in order to operate as a radiologic technician or technologist. This includes certificate holders. The ARRT offers a limited general radiography certificate for those who have completed the appropriate program.

States have their own licensing requirements, though many accept ARRT certification as a condition for licensure. The American Society of Radiologic Technicians (ASRT) has an online directory that contains information about each state's licensure requirements.

What About Advancement, Employment and Wage Projections?

The BLS states that the more certification you earn in the field, the better your chances are for advancement. Continuing education units and further education can also be contributing factors to upward career mobility.

The BLS projected that due in part to an increasing senior population, employment opportunities for radiologic technologists are expected to increase 9% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the median annual wage for radiologic technologists was $56,670. This may be a reflection of the varying complexity of duties, level of training and number of certifications earned.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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