Radiologic Technology Associate's Degree

Learn about radiologic technology associate's degree programs and how they can prepare you for a career as a radiologic technologist or radiographer. Get career, program and curriculum descriptions. Explore voluntary certification options and the job prospects in this field. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Radiologic Technologist?

Radiologic technologists, sometimes referred to as radiographers, operate diagnostic imaging machines to take X-rays, capture magnetic resonance images (MRI) or perform mammography exams. In this position, you typically work under a physician, who decides which imaging procedures should be done. Job duties could include explaining procedures to patients, positioning body parts, enforcing safety protocols, positioning imaging equipment and capturing images. You might also be responsible for keeping patient records and maintaining radiologic machines. Additionally, you could have a specialty such as magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography (CT scans).

Are There Prerequisites?

Associate's degree programs in radiologic technology usually require you to have at least a high school diploma. In addition to high school transcripts, standardized test scores and letters of recommendation, you may also need to take a placement test. Courses in biology, anatomy, chemistry and math could be helpful preparation.

What Will I Learn?

You can expect to take general education and science classes before receiving industry-specific radiography training. While some programs offer courses online, it can be difficult to find programs you can complete entirely over the Internet. You might take classes like the following:

  • Basic clinical practices
  • Imaging physics
  • Imaging equipment
  • Radiation biology
  • Radiation production
  • Radiographic procedures
  • Patient care procedures
  • Radiographic pathology

Do I Need Certification?

You do not need to be certified to work as a radiologic technologist. You might improve your employment chances if you earn the voluntary certification offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART). However, some states may require you to sit for a licensing exam; for states that do require licensure, each sets its own requirements.

What's the Job Market Like?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an employment growth rate of 17% for radiographers between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that radiographers earned a median annual salary of $52,210 in May 2008.

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