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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Radiologic Technology

Majors Overview June 26, 2014

Students in associate’s degree programs in radiologic technology will be provided with the clinical experience and comprehensive training necessary for employment as entry-level radiologic technicians, technologists, or related professionals. These professionals will use radiologic equipment, including computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and x-ray machines, for the purpose of helping physicians diagnose patients.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree Programs in Radiologic Technology

Students enrolled in Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Radiologic Technology are trained to seek entry-level jobs in radiologic technologist or technician positions. They can expect to become adept at operating radiation equipment, taking orders from physicians, and following vital security protocols.

Coursework in associate’s degree programs typically combines classroom lectures and lab studies in health and technology courses in addition to clinical rotations. Clinical rotations are devised to give students hands-on experience performing supervised work with operating equipment and patients. The experience requirements cause these programs to span five semesters of full-time study instead of the traditional four.

Education Requirements

Apart from a GED certificate or high school diploma, prospective students are expected to satisfy many other requirements before they are allowed to join a radiologic technology program. In some states, applicants have to be at least 18 years of age and must submit to a background check. They must not only be academically competent but also able to satisfy physical and health standards; for instance, they must be able to stand for long time periods, possess basic motor skills, and have updated immunizations.

Coursework

Coursework in radiologic technology programs includes coursework in radiation safety, procedures, and patient interaction. Beyond the radiologic technology coursework, students also have to complete classes in algebra, psychology, and anatomy and physiology. A review seminar may conclude some programs, providing students with rudiments of the cardinal principles in radiologic technology. Coursework may include the following topic areas:

•Imaging equipment
•Radiographic positioning
•Exposure principles
•Radiographic procedures
•Radiation protection

Career Choices

Radiologic technologists and technicians can seek entry-level careers in hospitals as well as in physicians’ offices and imaging centers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). They can expect to become adept at interacting with patients, as they are required to explain procedures and help them through the process. Through the entire duration of the procedure, these professionals remain concerned with the safety of both the patient and themselves.

Radiologic technologists and technicians can choose from various career titles:

•CT technologist
•MR technologist
•Radiologic technician
•Radiological technologist

Licensure and Continuing Education Choices

While licensure norms for radiologic technologists vary by state, licensure is mandatory in most states (BLS). Commonly, passage of a state-approved licensing exam—such as the one administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists—should suffice to obtain licensure. Continuing education is required to maintain the validity of licensure.

Graduates of associate degree programs may seek continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology, though not as many schools offer this program. More clinical experience opportunities are offered through these programs in addition to coursework in subject areas such as marketing or management information systems. This is especially suitable for students that aspire for administrative positions in the healthcare field after earning a master’s degree.

Some schools offer combination associate and bachelor’s degree programs, wherein students that complete a two-year radiologic technology program are allowed to go on to enroll into a four-year program in allied heath or a related subject.

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