UPDATED AUGUST 31, 2021
For career seekers, the explosive growth in healthcare occupations is good and bad. The good part is healthcare support jobs are readily available with the right training. The bad part is…you may not have heard of one occupation that’s truly at the center of healthcare jobs: radiologic technologist. In addition, the two-year radiologic technology degree – the A.A.S. degree – is a faster way to enter this long-lasting, well-paid healthcare profession.
The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Radiologic Technology
In understanding the vital work radiologic technologists do, it may come as a surprise that a radiologic technology degree is achievable in two years. How is this possible? In a word, it’s because of what “Applied” means in the Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology.
Think of it this way: An associate of applied science degree is usually two years of highly focused study and experiences. A four-year bachelor’s degree covers a broader base of knowledge.
Lab assignments, group instruction, and specialized projects are major components of an applied science degree program. Consider the A.A.S. as the “hands-on,” ready-for-work degree.
Radiologic Technologists Have Many Responsibilities
Rad techs are responsible for correct patient positioning, knowing how to help patients feel comfortable during the procedures, and monitoring radiation safety for the patient and the entire medical team. Rad techs often interact with physicians, too, ensuring physicians see what they need to see for correct diagnosis and treatment.
Because today’s imaging techniques are precise, imaging is almost always better than invasive procedures and exploratory surgeries. In 2019 alone, radiologic technologists performed nearly 300 million imaging scans of all types.
Who’s a Good Fit for the A.A.S. Degree in Rad Tech?
Students who know their talents and their life goals often find themselves leaning toward the A.A.S. degree. The number of applied science degree graduates is growing by about 12% per year, according to research from data.usa.org.
The A.A.S. degree in radiologic technology is ideal for those who have the desire to
A radiologic technologist degree program provides the educational requirements for certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). ARRT certification is recognized nationally as having met the professional qualification needed for rad tech jobs in the U.S. However, each state has specific licensing requirements that also must be met.
Classes and labs will include technology training, of course, and “soft skills” – helping the patient feel safe and comfortable, empathetic listening, etc. – vital in today’s patient-first healthcare.
It’s also an expandable career track. Become a radiologic technologist, and the field allows additional specializations, such as MRI technologist, computed tomography (CT), radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, mammography, and many more.
Where to Earn the Radiologic Technologist Degree
There are various institutions granting the radiologic technology degree. However, universities with a health science focus make sure their curriculum includes the same level of technology students will use when they graduate. That means learning about stationary and portable X-ray technologies, C-Arm stations, and fluoroscopy – an imaging technique that shows a continuous X-ray image on a monitor.
The degree program should also meet the educational requirements needed to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Radiography Examination to become a registered and certified radiologic technologist.
After graduating and earning the ARRT certification, radiologic technologists will find their employment possibilities are wide open. In addition to hospital emergency rooms and departments, rad techs can be staff members in physician offices, stand-alone imaging centers, medical or diagnostic labs, outpatient centers, and federal or state health agencies.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas.
How to learn more about earning a radiologic technologist degree? Request information today and download this new, free eBook: Your Complete Guide to a Career as a Radiologic Technologist.