If you're interested in studying for a career in radiology, you can choose from quite a few colleges offering online bachelor's degrees in the subject. There are several specialized paths with a number of concentrations among these schools, but all of them are degree-completion programs intended for registered radiologic technologists (also called radiographers). Most schools accept 70-90 transfer credits from an associate degree in radiology, allowing students to jump right into more advanced imaging coursework.
Depending on the program, students may learn to perform different diagnostic tests, sometimes referred to as modalities, on a variety of equipment. Starting in their degree program, radiologic technologists can specialize in one or several of these imaging modalities, which include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, and bone densitometry. Enrollment in a radiology degree — even one with fully online courses — will always require an in-person field experience where students will have supervised practice on the complex machinery they'll use in their jobs. Students currently working as technologists may be able to complete this at their place of employment, or they may need to arrange for another location.
There are a number of online bachelor's degree concentrations that can help prepare graduates for different career paths, such as MRI technologist or nuclear medicine technologist. If you're specifically looking to become a diagnostic medical sonographer, you may want to research online sonography degrees also.
Note that the job title radiologist refers to the medical doctors who interpret diagnostic imagery and communicate results to patients. Becoming a radiologist requires a medical degree; becoming a technician or technologist does not. However, there is a distinct difference between a technician, who operates machinery and may run tests but does not make assessments, and a radiologic technologist, who may take part in running tests as well as assessing the results with a medical team.
How Long Does a Radiology Tech Program Last?
Most online bachelor's degrees in radiology are degree-completion programs for students who already have an entry-level associate degree and are registered radiologic technologists. These degrees can take 16-24 months of full-time study or 24-36 months of part-time study to complete all 120 credits, assuming students are able to transfer all their associate credits (usually not a problem if they attended an accredited school). In addition to regular coursework, the bachelor's degree includes a field experience with a set number of required clinical hours in a healthcare practice setting. This experience can last from a few months to a year but may occur simultaneously with online classes.
How Difficult Are Online Programs in Radiology?
There's no absolute answer to this question, because individuals have different strengths, experiences, and learning styles. One way to gauge the difficulty of individual online programs is by reviewing graduation rates. These can be hard to find for individual programs, but the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology provides a helpful data search tool. Prospective students can review JRCERT-accredited programs for their student completion rate and credential exam pass rate to get a sense of how well a college supports its students and how prepared graduates are for their necessary certifications.
Prospective students can review JRCERT-accredited programs for their student completion rate and credential exam pass rate to get a sense of how well a college supports its students and how prepared graduates are for their necessary certifications.
Another helpful practice is reading student reviews from your prospective school. You can filter by school from our rankings list and look for reviews specifically about radiology programs. Personal experiences in radiology degree programs sometimes describe challenging courses and clinical experiences. In general, those who liked their programs enjoyed the challenges, and those who wrote negative reviews tended to describe their courses as too difficult. The two main challenges that alumni describe are:
- 1. Learning the details of human anatomy, physiology, and biology
- 2. Understanding and differentiating among different types of diagnostic imaging and machinery
Depending on your aptitude for science and technology, you may find one of these aspects more difficult to learn than the other. Many radiology programs feature courses covering a variety of imaging machines, so current radiology techs may find new equipment difficult to learn if it differs from the equipment they already use in their work. It's also possible that students will excel in their health science and imaging science courses but struggle in some required general education or liberal arts classes.
Common Courses in Online Radiology Programs
Course offerings can differ across radiology programs, but most of them have a few courses in common. This is because faculty want to train diagnostic imaging specialists who are not just proficient at one set of tests, but also adept at cross-training on new technology according to the needs of their employers. Below, we've listed a few classes that most radiology students will encounter.
- Fundamentals of Computed Tomography: Students learn the uses and limitations of CT scans in diagnosing illness and injuries. Professors teach the scan process, including safety protocols and administration of contrast agents. Although a doctor is responsible for diagnoses, professors may cover basic interpretation of results.
- Introduction to Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Lessons in this course cover the use of sound waves to retrieve images. Students learn the practical applications of sonography, including echocardiograms for cardiovascular imaging and ultrasound for obstetrics and gynecology. Faculty generally cover patient care, professional behavior, and ethics.
- Introduction to MRI: This course introduces the principles of MRI, including the operation of machinery and interpretation of results. Students learn about the physical processes behind using magnets and contrast agents to reveal organs and tissues. Faculty emphasize safety around magnets and common patient reactions to immersion in an MRI tube.
- Physics in Diagnostic Imaging: Faculty teach the scientific principles that allow machines to render diagnostic images. Coursework may cover image formation and processing, magnetism, and basic electronics. Students are introduced to concepts explored in more depth in later courses, such as contrast (including the use of nuclear medicine) and the effects of the body's structures on imaging.
- Sectional Anatomy: Radiology students learn the human body's systems and how they interconnect. Professors often discuss which imagining machinery best reveals each system. The focus is on the physical plane viewable in different types of images, along with the limits of each.
Applying to a Program
Once you've selected a list of preferred colleges, it's time to apply. Online radiology bachelor's degrees are almost all completion programs, so their application processes are usually similar to one another and to comparable on-campus programs.
1. Complete an online application form. Prospective students enter their personal details so the college has a record of who they are and what they've already achieved. Some schools may ask applicants to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at this time so they can begin consideration for financial aid.
2. Submit official transcripts. Students need to request that their associate degree institution send official transcripts to the new college. Most schools require a minimum GPA for admission, often between 2.5 and 3.0.
3. Provide proof of registration. Applicants must demonstrate that they've passed a certification exam in at least one radiology discipline, which will differ by program. Prospects may need to request proof of registration from one of the following organizations, or an admissions officer may use a verification tool provided on an organization's website:
4. Provide additional documentation. Some colleges require 1-3 letters of recommendation from professors or managers, some ask for a written reflection or answers to a series of essay questions, and most will ask for a resume if the applicant has a professional work history.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Radiology Degree
Accreditation is an important qualification for all future college students to consider. Every college featured on OnlineU is either nationally or regionally accredited, which helps ensure that your education is legitimate and credits will transfer to any future master's degree program.
Most specializations in the radiologic sciences require students to graduate from an accredited program before testing for a license.
However, prospective students should ensure that an online bachelor's degree is also accredited at the program level before committing. Most specializations in the radiologic sciences require students to graduate from an accredited program before testing for a license. Below, we've listed the organizations that accredit programs in radiology, along with the specialties they cover.
- American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists: MRI
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs: Diagnostic medical sonography
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology: Radiography, MRI, and medical dosimetry
- Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology: Nuclear medicine technology
To ensure that your program is accredited by the correct body, review the licensure requirements in the state where you want to practice.
Scholarships for Online Radiology Students
Online radiology students can qualify for a variety of financial aid if they're enrolled at an accredited school. Most college students or their families take out some federal or private loans to help finance a degree, but these must be repaid with interest. More desirable forms of aid include grants, scholarships, and work-study programs, which don't require repayment after graduation.
Some private organizations and donors sponsor scholarships specifically for bachelor's students in radiology, and we've listed some examples below. Check with a school's financial aid office to make sure they participate in a particular program.
American Society of Radiologic Technologist scholarships: This association offers several scholarships each year for dues-paying members. The Hologic Mammography Scholarship awards $4,300 to technologists pursuing a bachelor's degree with emphasis in mammography. The Jerman-Cahoon Student Scholarship grants $2,500 to one winner per year pursuing a degree in any radiologic technology discipline. And applicants from racial or ethnic minority groups can seek the Royce Osborn Minority Student Scholarship to earn $4,000 toward tuition and fees.
Mickey Williams Technologist Minority Scholarship: Each year, two bachelor's students win this $2,500 award to study nuclear medicine technology. Applicants must come from select racial backgrounds underrepresented in nuclear medicine, demonstrate financial need, and have earned a minimum 2.5 GPA in their most recent coursework. The award is open to student members of the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging, and student membership is free.
SDMS Foundation Sonography Student Scholarship: The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography awards two annual $2,500 scholarships to students in accredited programs. Applicants must be current SDMS members who haven't won this award previously.
Careers in the Radiology Field
The broad field of radiologic technology contains many job titles depending on employees' specialties and certifications. Most careers in radiology have a healthy outlook, with above-average job growth over the next several years.
All radiologic technologists train in human anatomy in order to take precise and accurate images. Their responsibilities usually also include maintaining complex radiology equipment, managing patient records, and occasionally helping doctors interpret image results. Depending on their state regulations, an aspiring technologist generally needs to obtain certification after earning a degree.
We've listed a few radiology specializations here, along with their median salaries and job outlook figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Diagnostic medical sonographer: These professionals use sound wave technology to perform gynecological, abdominal, and cardiac assessments of patients, including prenatal health screenings for pregnant women. Ideally, sonographers should possess strong social skills so they can put patients at ease by walking them through each procedure. These professionals earn median salaries of $70,380 per year, and the field is expected to grow very fast at 17% through 2029.
- MRI technologist: MRI technologists specialize in using MRI machines to create images and may also work with a physician to interpret the results. MRIs are used to diagnose everything from joint pain to tumors. Like sonographers, MRI techs benefit from high emotional intelligence so they can calm patients who dislike the noisy, immersive MRI procedure. These jobs pay a median salary of $63,710 per year, with the field expected to grow 7% by the end of the decade.
- Nuclear medicine technologist: Nuclear medicine can help radiology professionals take more accurate images, and nuclear medicine technologists are experts in administering and explaining this medicine to patients. They follow radiation protection procedures for radiopharmaceuticals, including their disposal. Nuclear medicine techs earn relatively high median annual salaries for radiologic technologists, at $79,590. However, their 5% job growth outlook is lower than other radiology professionals.
- Radiation therapist: These professionals use radiation to treat disease rather than diagnose medical issues. They follow rigorous safety protocols to prepare patients for focused doses of radiation that can shrink tumors. Radiation therapists command the highest median salaries at $86,850 of any radiology discipline that doesn't require an M.D. The job outlook is also good, with 7% growth expected through the end of the decade.
- X-ray or CT technologist: These technologists take X-ray images for physicians to analyze and interpret. CT scans involve the use of several X-rays to harvest a three-dimensional image of an internal section of the patient's body, and their images are often made clearer with the use of an ingested or injected contrast agent. Like MRI techs, these professionals earn median wages of $63,710 per year, and available jobs are projected to increase by 7% through 2029.
Is Radiologic Tech a Stressful Job?
A common feature of each career path in radiology is the potential for high levels of work-related stress. This was true even before the COVID-19 pandemic put healthcare workers on the front line. A Philips research report showed that in 2019, 44% of U.S. radiologic technologists reported moderate to severe levels of stress, with 36% demonstrating symptoms of professional burnout.
One potential stressor is the high pace of work that requires care and precision. In a typical day, techs may need to perform a number of physically and mentally demanding tasks dozens of times during a shift, including:
- Reading medical charts and consulting with doctors to get patients ready for the correct procedures
- Physically preparing patients for tests, which might involve helping lift and position people with mobility issues
- Ensuring that safety precautions are in place
- Administering contrast agents in some patients
- Explaining procedures before and during tests to reassure anxious patients
- Carefully noting and recording each image according to best medical practices and strict legal guidelines
80% of U.S. techs and their managers say that they're satisfied, very satisfied, or extremely satisfied with their work.
The aging U.S. population will lead to more stress on radiology departments, because seniors typically need more diagnostic imaging than younger patients. However, radiology professionals still report relatively high levels of job satisfaction. The Philips survey notes that 80% of U.S. techs and their managers say that they're satisfied, very satisfied, or extremely satisfied with their work, with the most important factors being good communication and information access among their teams, safe workplace conditions, and the importance of their work in their patients' care.
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The degree requirements of a radiologist include receiving a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). In addition, a radiologist will need to obtain a state license and/or certification.
- MRI technologist. National average salary: $61,370 per year. ...
- Radiologic technologist. National average salary: $65,144 per year. ...
- Cardiovascular technologist. National average salary: $77,740 per year. ...
- Sonographer. ...
- Radiation therapist. ...
- Nuclear medicine technologist. ...
California has the highest radiologic technician salary of $73,568. Iowa has the lowest radiologic technician salary of $38,592. The national average salary for radiologic technicians is $50,622. The national hourly pay for radiologic technicians is $24.34.
Graduates are eligible to apply for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Certification and NYS Licensure. The program involves approximately 950 contact hours of classroom work, 1,770 hours of clinical training, and 288 hours of workshops and independent study.
The study of radiography requires a high degree of mathematical knowledge. Radiography students are required to have three semesters of radiation science. Radiation science uses mathematics and science to teach how the atomic development of x-radiation occurs.
Becoming a radiologist isn't easy. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work—medical students and residents often have difficulty coping with the pressure. That's why it's so important to make sure becoming a doctor is what you really want before you commit.
Once you know the inside story of a radiologic technologist's career, becoming one will likely interest you. The healthcare role rad techs have is vitally important and provides a high level of personal satisfaction. It's a top-25 healthcare job according to the U.S. News annual rankings.
The median annual salary for a radiology technologist is $61,980 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 6 percent growth projected through 2031. By comparison, ultrasound technologists make a median salary of $77,740, or about 9 percent more.
The subject matter involved in an x-ray technician program can be challenging. You'll need a firm understanding of the human body and how to use imaging equipment. During your program, you'll dive deep into topics such as: Medical terminology.
There are the two-year associate degree programs and the four-year bachelor's degree program. There are also one-year programs where students can become what is know as a limited radiographer or LMRT. Regardless of what program you decide to go to, one thing remains the same, X-RAY SCHOOL IS HARD!
Radiologic and MRI technologists work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Radiologic and MRI technologists are often on their feet for long periods and may need to lift or turn patients, such as to help those who are injured.
- Get a better degree to increase radiologic technologist salaries. In this field, a degree is very important to your radiologic technologist's salaries. ...
- Try to get more real-life experience. ...
- Learn more specializations. ...
- Find employment in large cities.
|CITYMD Radiologic Technologist salaries - 20 salaries reported||New York City, NY Area||$56/hr|
|NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Radiologic Technologist salaries - 12 salaries reported||New York City, NY Area||$114,720/yr|
|Years of experience||Per hour|
|1 to 2 years||$32.38|
|3 to 5 years||-|
|6 to 9 years||$38.23|
|More than 10 years||$42.00|
- Earn your high school diploma or GED. You'll need a high school education to apply to radiology technology programs.
- Earn a degree. You can choose from a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree in radiology technology.
- Earn certification. ...
- Consider specializing.
Since the discovery of X-rays in 1895, the applications of radiation in medicine have broadened tremendously in scope. Three specialties have emerged during the last 50 years; namely, diagnostic radiology, therapeutic radiology, and nuclear medicine.
- Diagnostic Radiology. Diagnostic radiology is a medical specialisation that involves undertaking a range of imaging procedures to obtain images of the inside of the body. ...
- Interventional Radiology. ...
- Radiation Oncology.
A minimum of five years of postgraduate education is required, including one preliminary year of training in clinical medicine (internal medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, or a transitional year) and four years of training in Diagnostic Radiology.
No, radiology tech school is not harder than nursing school.
It's a common misconception that Radiology Tech School is harder than Nursing School. In fact, both radiology tech school and nursing school are difficult in their own ways and require different skill sets and knowledge.
- Erratic hours. As healthcare has emerged to be more patient friendly, hospitals and imaging centers have expanded hours and procedures performed. ...
- Extensive educational requirements. The minimum requirement for schooling will take at least nine years.
These are just a few of the many challenges radiologic technologists (rad techs) contend with every day. The job is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. It's no surprise, then, that occupational stress and burnout are a reality for many rad techs.
You may also need to deal with packed x-ray schedules and strenuous days. Overall, while there are stressful moments in any medical career, you'll also find your work to be rewarding. You're playing a key role in ensuring patients receive the medical care they need.
The average radiologic technologist gross salary in Philippines is ₱333,544 or an equivalent hourly rate of ₱160. In addition, they earn an average bonus of ₱5,670. Salary estimates based on salary survey data collected directly from employers and anonymous employees in Philippines.
The mean annual spay for a sonographer is $80,680, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2021 salary survey. Those at the high end of the spectrum earned over $100,000 whereas those just beginning their career earned up to $59,640.
The highest-paid ultrasound tech is a neuro ultrasound tech.
Neuro or brain ultrasound techs earn over $100,000 a year. To become a neuro ultrasound tech means completing a specialized neuro sonography program. These programs can be completed in as little as two years.
After completing high school, on average it will take 13 years to become a Radiologist. This includes completing an undergraduate degree which usually takes four years, followed by four years of Medical school, then a one year internship, followed by four years of residency training in Diagnostic Radiology.
While there are no math courses in the program per se, radiation physics requires understanding of mathematical equations and the ability to do basic algebra. You don't need to be a “math whiz” by any means, but some mathematic ability will definitely make the program easier.
A solid majority of radiologic technologists enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a radiologic technologist.
Though both are extremely important players in your diagnostic and interventional care, radiologists and radiologic technologists perform different tasks and functions. Your technologist performs the radiological imaging test and your radiologist interprets the images produced by that test.
They might also have to be on call. "New techs usually have to work their way up from nights to days," Blair says. A typical day for an MRI tech is variable, but the MRI machines are running constantly, scanning back-to-back patients. The pace can be stressful, as can the seriousness of the work.
- Interested in establishing a rapport with people.
- Active listener who's responsive to patient needs.
- Takes responsibility, shows initiative.
- Ability to show compassion.
- Adaptability to constantly changing imaging scenarios.
- Attention to detail, organized.
Work Alone or as Part of a Team
Although you'll be functioning as part of a team, there will be plenty of time where you might be alone and left to your own skills. However, if you like working with people, you have that opportunity as well. You'll constantly be working with patients and ensuring their care.
“The only way you can transition from a radiologic tech to a radiologist is to go to medical school and become a doctor,” says Horton. Admittance into medical school upon completing your undergraduate degree is by no means guaranteed.
A career as a radiologic technologist will be anything but static, with opportunities for growth and lifelong learning. Requiring an associate's-level diploma (two years), this highly demanded and essential job class has enormous opportunity for growth within the world of medical imaging.
The truth is, although it covers basic concepts, the test is made harder simply due to the importance of a passing score, as well as factors such as its length and the time limit. Among the more common pitfalls are: mismanaging your time, letting questions fluster you, and second-guessing yourself.
The base salary for Radiology Tech ranges from $69,601 to $84,401 with the average base salary of $76,501.
What is the average salary for a mri technologist in New York? The average salary for a mri technologist in New York is $75,500 per year. Mri technologist salaries in New York can vary between $38,000 to $146,000 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.
The majority of radiologic technology education programs are two years in length. The New York State Department of Health has a list of 2 year and 4 year Schools, Colleges, and Programs for radiologic technician training on their website: https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/doctors/radiological/schlist2.htm.
The average Radiology Tech salary in Los Angeles, CA is $71,901 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $65,501 and $79,301.
The average salary for a ultrasound technician in New York is $68,500 per year. Ultrasound technician salaries in New York can vary between $20,500 to $99,500 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.
To become a diagnostic radiographer, you must first successfully complete an approved degree or masters in diagnostic radiography. Degree courses take three or four years full time, or up to six years part time. There are also some postgraduate courses that can take two years.
The top Radiology Colleges for courses in radiology include AIIMS New Delhi, CMC Vellore, JNU New Delhi, Lady Hardinge Medical College New Delhi, etc. Candidates can work for the profile of Radiologist, X-ray Technician, Medical Lab Technician, MRI Technician, etc post completing the program.
The program is 7 quarters long, which is 21 months.
The Radiologic Sciences B.S. degree program prepares practitioners (radiologic technologists) to work with patients and physicians, performing a wide variety of diagnostic imaging procedures within the radiology (X-ray) department.
Radiation oncologists and radiologists earn the highest average salaries in this field. However, students must attend medical school to qualify for these positions. Job candidates can also find lucrative radiology careers with high growth potential in roles that require less education.
It's a top-20 healthcare job according to the U.S. News annual rankings. This high ranking is because imaging is rapidly replacing exploratory surgeries and other invasive procedures.
The average Radiology Tech salary in the United States is $63,801 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $58,001 and $70,301.
The same reason that other Doctors are highly paid. They are scarce, are in high demand, and their services are essential.
Radiologists make $298,405 per year on average, or $143.46 per hour, in the United States. Radiologists on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $124,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $714,000.
- Demanding days. Radiographers spend a lot of their day on their feet. ...
- Schedule. The schedule for radiographers depends a lot on where they work. ...
- Career advancement. As a radiographer, there's little room for advancement without additional training.
These are just a few of the many challenges radiologic technologists (rad techs) contend with every day. The job is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. It's no surprise, then, that occupational stress and burnout are a reality for many rad techs.
The stress scores in the survey population ranged from 6 to 46 with the higher scores reflecting higher stress levels. The mean score for radiologists was 24.7 compared with 19.6 for the general population.
Let us have a look at each of these tips.
- Do not cherry-pick cases. ...
- Optimize your equipment. ...
- Read requests. ...
- Be fast on easy cases. ...
- Be systematic & structured.
Interestingly enough, the average age of diagnostic radiologists is 40+ years old, which represents 74% of the population.