The attraction to a health care career is natural, and it’s smart – no other industry has an upside for continual expansion or a stronger likelihood of making a difference in the lives of others. Being on the lookout for a two-year degree also is smart, and the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree centered on radiologic technology does just that.
Here’s a six-point checklist to look for to receive a high-quality radiologic technology education from the degree programs and schools you’re considering.
1. It meets ARRT and state licensing requirements
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) requires at least an associate degree to be eligible to take the national ARRT exam in Radiography. Many states now require an associate degree or higher to be eligible for ARRT certification and licensure as a radiologic technologist.
While some places offer a certificate instead of a degree, a certificate is not the same as being ARRT certified. If you earn a certificate without also earning a degree, you will not be able to take the national ARRT exam needed to be a certified radiologic technologist.
2. It’s an accelerated 2-year degree
A sensible, money-smart choice is a two-year associate of applied science degree program – an A.A.S. The “applied science” part of the degree is the difference maker. It’s your sign that all the knowledge and skills needed for a long-term career come to you in a two-year format.
The faster you graduate from a rad tech program, the faster you can apply for licensure, and the faster you enter the workforce.
3. It offers a guaranteed admission option
Some rad tech programs even offer guaranteed admission status for students who take their prerequisite courses at the same university as the professional rad tech program. Of course, all criteria for the program admission have to be satisfied. Still, what an advantage! It’s worth meeting with the university’s academic advising team to help guide you through this process.
4. Instructors Have Clinical Experience
It certainly pays to get your radiologic technologist education from faculty who have first-hand experience in working at or managing imaging centers, because they can demonstrate the most effective ways to work through challenging imaging scenarios.
One way to check for depth of experience by talking one-on-one with the instructors. Here are some questions to ask:
5. There’s an emphasis on patient interaction skills
In today’s health care world, “patient care interaction skills” are essential because patient satisfaction reports can have a major influence on the compensation received by health care facilities. Not only will many patients have never undergone high-tech medical imaging before, but they will range from the very young to senior adults and come from various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.
That means a radiologic technologist education is more than learning the equipment. It must include “soft skills development,” such as:
6. Clinical experience happens early
Not all rad tech programs are set up the same. Some programs first funnel students through basic courses, then squeeze in patient care experiences at the end. A better choice is guided patient care experiences throughout the program, starting in the second semester.
Early interaction with patients enhances learning, but that only makes sense when students have plentiful access to a university’s on-site radiologic equipment rooms, demonstration suites, and human body mannequins for life-like imaging scenarios.
Skills that are embedded into a radiologic technologist education get rad tech students ready for actual clinical time with patients. Look for rad tech programs that front-load imaging classes before sending you into a work environment. You’ll want to have completed the majority of your positioning classes before going to your first clinic setting.
It also helps to find out when you can get your clinical training. Traditional rad tech programs are restricted to only 25 percent of their total clinical hours being outside of the traditional daytime hours. Non-traditional programs may offer more flexibility.
Radiologic Technologist Education at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC)
Rad tech students at CUKC earn their Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology degree in a two-year format.
The program’s eight-week courses deliver deep understanding. Students receive hands-on training and gain experience the University’s own radiologic equipment rooms, two demonstration suites, and by clinical experience in partner clinics in the Kansas City area. CUKC welcomes new classes of students into the radiologic technology program in spring and fall.
Students who complete all the required prerequisite coursework at CUKC will be granted guaranteed admission to the radiologic technology degree program provided that all criteria for AASRT program admission are met, and all other additional considerations are satisfactory.
Ready to check into a career in radiologic technology? Download a free copy of the ebook, Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist today!
Blog updated 09/19/2019.