Three options exist for pursuing a career as a radiology tech: a certificate program that takes one to two years, a two-year associate’s degree, or a four-year bachelor’s degree. (A certificate program is especially beneficial for an individual with significant experience in radiology technology or who is shifting medical fields. This program typically lasts for 21 to 24 months.)
Certificate programs are available through traditional or online courses, community colleges, technical schools, and some hospitals. (Hospital programs will usually have a condition of employment in order to gain the necessary training.) These institutions often require an intensive coursework schedule. Prerequisites to radiology programs may include previous medical experience and/or medical terminology, office technology or ethics coursework. The foundation of radiology education usually includes anatomy, chemistry, biology, radiology theory, mathematics and patient safety courses. (Note: Be sure to confirm the accreditation of the institution you plan to attend.)
A two-year associate’s degree is the most popular path for aspiring radiology techs at this time. Programs are offered at almost all accredited community colleges and private (for-profit) institutions.
Some universities offer a bachelor’s degree in Radiologic Technology. Admission to one of these programs comes with its own criteria specific to the school. Common coursework includes radiation physics, anatomy, pathology and radiobiology.
Most schools require a portion of the curriculum to be hands-on to give students valuable patient contact experience. Many radiologic technology programs are now also requiring coding or medical office courses, as some jobs will require those skills to be utilized in practice.