Types of Radiology Degree Programs

This page offers details about radiology as a career, about why you may want to work in this growing field, and also some of the different degree programs that are available. It features both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, and recommendations for earning your certificate in radiology locally. That is required for most bachelor and master’s programs online.

If you are interested in a rewarding career in radiology, you should think about becoming a radiologic technologist or radiographer. Radiographers are crucial members of the modern health care team in most hospitals and medical facilities.

Radiologic technicians and MRI technologists perform diagnostic imaging tests, including x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. These jobs are very important today because they allow physicians to diagnose and treat many serious medical conditions without any expensive and invasive surgeries. For those who want a career in radiology, your job duties usually include:

  • Adjusting and maintaining cutting edge imaging equipment
  • Following orders from doctors about which part of the body needs imaging
  • Prepping patients for radiologic procedures, such as taking medical histories and answering common questions about the test
  • Protect patients by shielding areas that do not need to be exposed
  • Operate equipment to take x-rays, CT scans and MRIs
  • Work with the doctor to determine what the images mean and to see if more need to be taken for further diagnosis

More and more healthcare professionals today rely on radiologic technicians and MRI technologists to perform these very important tests to diagnose many medical problems. As a key player in the health care team, you will be able over time to gain in reputation, experience and salary. This can be particularly aided by earning your master’s degree later on. We outline some master’s degree options in this field below.

To become a radiologic technologist, you will need to have at least a certificate or an associate’s degree. Many in this field start as radiologic technologists and then become more specialized with higher education as their career progresses. There also are some programs that can lead to radiologic graduate certificates and also bachelor’s degrees.

If you currently hold a certificate or associate’s degree in radiology or a related field, you should get your bachelor of science degree because this is becoming an industry standard. Many employers today expect you to have your BS.

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology or JRCERT accredits programs in radiology in the US. You should be certain that your desired radiology program has this important accreditation.

Many states require radiologic technologists to have a license after they graduate from an accredited program. They also must pass a certification examination on the national level. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists is one of the groups that administers this exam. That organization now requires all graduates of radiology school to have an associate’s degree to sit for the licensing examination.

If you are interested in this type of career, review the online degree programs that we highlight below. If you do not have any radiologic background, you will need to earn your certificate or associate’s degree first, which can be done at many community colleges.

For instance, in Texas, St. Philip’s College offers an Associate of Applied Science that will earn you your degree and the needed ARRT certification to eventually earn your bachelor’s degree. Once you have your certificate or associate’s degree in your local area, you can earning your online bachelor’s degree:

Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science Administration

Saint Joseph’s College provides you with a high quality BS program that prepares current radiologic science professionals with a certificate for a career of supervisory and/or teaching in diagnostic imaging.

This online program will provide you with credit for clinical courses you took before, for the general education classes you need for your license. This is a highly desirable degree program because with your BS, you will be able to work in management and earn a higher salary. You do not need to come to campus to complete this program.

Another option is to enroll in this bachelor’s program while you are working on getting your radiography certificate in your area. That program needs to accredited, and you cannot complete this bachelor’s program until you have completed the certificate program and this has been verified.

Required classes include:

  • Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
  • Health Information Technologies
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Information Technology Fundamentals

Bachelor of Science in Radiography

The University of Missouri has an online bachelor’s in radiography that is designed for those who have a certificate in radiology and are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. All applicants must have completed a certificate or associate’s degree program.

This is an important degree to obtain: A BS degree is becoming the standard requirement today for all practicing radiographers and radiologic technicians.

Classwork in this two year online BS degree program includes:

  • Clinical Ethics
  • Cardio Applications
  • Introduction to Research and Evidence Base
  • Radiologic Pharmacology
  • Sectional Anatomy
  • Computed Tomography Physics and Procedures
  • Public Health Principles and Practice

Radiologist Assistant Master’s

After you have your bachelor’s degree and have several years of experience, you may decide to earn your master’s degree. Loma Linda University offers an online master’s degree so that you can become a radiologist assistant.

This is an advanced clinical role for a radiographer who already has a BS and an ARRT certification. As an RA, you can be a vital part of improving patient care as you extend the ability of the radiologist in diagnostic imaging.

Under the supervision of a radiologist, you do patient assessments, patient management, fluoroscopy and many other advanced procedures in radiology. You can enter this program with a BS degree in radiology from any accredited program in the US.

Coursework for this master’s degree includes:

  • Pharmacology for Radiologist Assistants
  • Radiology Procedures and Image Evaluation
  • Clinical Internship I
  • Fluoroscopy and Protection
  • Radiology Reporting
  • Patient Assessment
  • Topics for the Radiologist Assistant
  • Clinical Management and Education
  • Radiobiology and Health Physics

This program’s entire curriculum is online, but you will need to do mandatory clinical rotations in your area. It is a 21 month program that you complete full time. You must find your own clinical site in your city as well as a radiologist mentor.

You will be required to visit the Loma Linda campus at least twice during the entire program.

Loma Linda University prefers that your BS degree be in administration or science, but it does not have to be specifically in radiology. You also must have at least two years of full time work experience in radiography or radiology.

Loma Linda University also has a Master’s in Radiation Sciences that you can get online. This program allows you to develop leadership and expertise in administration and education so that you can advance in your workplace.

This is a two year, 49 unit, part time program. If you do it full time, it can be completed in only one year.

As in the first program, you must have certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists to be considered for admission.

Classes in this program include:

  • Instructional Effectiveness
  • Healthcare Financing and Accounting
  • Basics of Marketing
  • Personal Leadership
  • Strategic Planning in Health Care Organizations
  • Basics of Imaging Informatics
  • Advances in Technology: Educational and Managerial Issues
Written by Robert Sanchez
Robert Sanchez is HealthGrad.com's Chief Editorialist. Robert Sanchez has over 10 years experience in the Healthcare field and more recently has become an avid writer advising on career and job topics in this exciting field.

More posts from Robert Sanchez