Radiography Associate's Degree
Radiographers, or radiologic technologists, operate and maintain x-ray machines. Find out about associate's degree programs that train you to work in this field. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Why Do I Need a Radiography Associate's Degree?
According to the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) as of January, 2015, all candidates for certification must have earned an academic degree in order to be eligible to sit for a certification examination (www.arrt.org). With this in mind, it's advisable that you pursue a program that can lead to an associate's degree in radiography.
As asserted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2011, certification is voluntary. However, you probably stand a better chance of being hired if you're certified. In addition, the BLS further mentions that in order to practice as a radiologic technologist, most states require you to hold a license. Although each state has its own requirements for licensure, many states use ARRT certification examinations for licensing purposes, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).
Where Can I Find a School?
The AART maintains an online list of schools that offer accredited associate's degree programs. The listing includes programs that are presented evenings and weekends, part-time, on campus and online. Included as part of each school's listing is a list of clinical settings recognized by that school. These are the places where you might complete your practical requirements.
Since online programs also contain clinical components, these are actually hybrid programs. Hybrid programs are those in which the didactic portions can be completed online, but you must complete clinical and lab requirements in person.
If you prefer, you can use the National Center for Education Studies to help you locate a suitable school. A search on the online database yields over 270 schools that offer programs leading to an appropriate associate's degree as of July 2011.
What Subjects Will I Study?
It can take you 2-3 years to complete a program that consists of 70-91 credits. Completion of the program generally leads to an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science in Radiography or Radiologic Technology.
All programs prepare you to operate and maintain x-ray machines and to assist, educate, transport and position patients in medical settings. Typical courses you may be required to complete include anatomy and physiology, pathology, principles of radiography, medical terminology, introduction to radiographic procedures, patient care, radiographic positioning, radiation protection, radiographic darkroom processing, medical ethics and technical writing.
What Is the Outlook on Employment and Advancement?
The BLS states that by certifying in more than one modality, you can increase your chances for employment and advancement. You may qualify for advanced ARRT certification in areas such as mammography, fluoroscopes, bone densitometry, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or sonography.
In July 2011, the BLS projected that employment for radiographers was projected to increase by 17% from 2008-2018. This is faster than the national average for all occupations. The BLS further stated that as of May 2008, the median annual wage of radiologic technologists was $52,210.
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