The most common 4-year degree program available for radiologic science is a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology. A radiologic technician, radiographer, or medical imaging specialist is responsible for using radiography machines to aid in the diagnosis of illness and disease in patients.
Many aspiring radiologic technicians earn 2-year associate's degrees before gaining licensure and positions in healthcare centers. However, those radiologic technicians transfer their associate's degree credits over to a 4-year bachelor's degree program in radiologic science or radiologic technology to gain a more comprehensive overview of radiography equipment, medical terminology, and the healthcare system in general. After gaining professional experience, individuals choose to earn voluntary certifications to supplement licenses.
Students who transfer to a bachelor's degree program in radiologic science should have an associate's degree in the field, while students who enter into a bachelor's degree program in radiologic science as freshmen should hold a high school diploma or GED. Many schools require students to have completed basic courses in mathematics, science, biology, and communications.
Radiologic Science Bachelor's Degree Program
Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in radiologic technology learn how to prepare patients for radiographic procedures, handle and maintain radiographic equipment, and turn diagnostic findings over to licensed physicians. They also learn the basics of anatomy, patient care, and clinical practicum procedures.
Courses found within a bachelor's degree program in radiologic science combine both classroom lectures on medical terminology with clinical rotations in healthcare centers. Core coursework includes:
- Physics for radiography
- Radiographic procedures
- Protection from radiographic exposure
- Radiation biology and pathology
- Ethics in medical imaging
- Healthcare management fundamentals
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Radiologic technologists held 212,000 jobs in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment in the profession is predicted to rise by 7% for the years 2019 through 2029, which is faster than the average predicted growth rate across all occupations (www.bls.gov). These workers earned a median annual salary of $61,900 as of May 2020.
Continuing Education Options
Although all radiologic technicians and medical imaging specialists must be properly trained, each state has its own requirements for licensure in the field. Radiologic technicians and technologists can earn voluntary national certification, however, from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Earning ARRT certification requires the applicant to pass an exam; maintaining the credential involves completing periodic continuing education in radiologic science and technology.
On the path to becoming practicing radiologists, students will likely need to earn a bachelor's degree in radiologic science. These programs teach students the basic skills needed to enter the field, preparing them for licensure and voluntary certification.