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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree for Radiographers

Majors Overview January 24, 2014

Receive information about an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree for radiographers and its educational requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and certification and continuing education choices.

A.A. Programs for Radiographers

Although they are not common, an Associate of Specialized Technology (A.S.T.) degree program in radiography can be found. They are often offered in Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) formats. These programs may provide students with the training needed to become radiographers, also known as radiologic technicians or technologists.

The role of radiographers, which are specialized hospital professionals, is to take x-rays of patients and develop that film. Students in associate’s degree programs in radiography may learn x-ray image production, radiation safety, and radiographic procedures. They may also develop the communication, evaluation, and diagnostic skills that radiographers require. These programs usually take two years or fewer to complete.

Educational Requirements

At least a GED or high school diploma is needed for an applicant to be admitted. Normally, sufficient science and math courses are required before beginning the official curriculum.

Coursework

Coursework commonly combines classroom lectures and lab instruction augmented by workshops, seminars and supervised internships. A designated number of hours are expected to be students in a variety of specialized aspects of radiography. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Radiographic exposure
•Radiographic image processing
•Radiographic anatomy and positioning
•Radiographic equipment and maintenance
•Specimen collection and handling
•Sectional imaging
•Darkroom techniques
•Radiation protection
•Patient care and assessment

Job and Wage Outlook

A high job growth projection of 17% for radiographers during the period from 2008 to 2018 has been made (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). The optimistic projection is based on the expectation that high rates of illness and injury are likely to be suffered by an aging population in the United States during the period. In May 2010, radiologic technicians took home an average annual wage of $38,460, while radiologic technologists earned $55,910 during the same period (BLS).

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of radiographer associate’s degree programs may seek further education by earning a bachelor’s degree; alternately, they may seek professional certifications to help become radiologic specialists or assistants in specialized aspects of the field. In most states, radiologic technologists are required to obtain licensure before they can practice their profession, though the requirements for different states could vary.

Passage of an ARRT exam will qualify technologists for voluntary certification offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). This certification can help these professionals obtain licensure in several states. Continuing education every two years would be needed to maintain certification.

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