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Upasana Gupta -

Why Major in Radiology?

Get Details on Education, Career Prospects, Salary & More...

Thanks to the rapid growth in technology within the healthcare industry, radiology is one of the largest and fastest growing fields in allied health today, with demand for skilled radiologic professionals being among the highest in the field, and it will only continue to grow as technology advances, healthcare facilities expand, and baby boomers age.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that demand for radiology pros will rise to 28 percent through 2020, which qualifies a higher than average job market for prospective professionals. Also, as the imaging technology improves, more physicians will rely on the technique for diagnosis, and therefore more people will be needed to operate the imaging machines.

(Look Up Our Directory for Listing of Radiology Colleges and Schools in USA)

What is Radiology?

Radiology is the study of using medical imaging technology to diagnose and treat disease and injuries. Radiology technologists help physicians diagnose and treat patients by performing diagnostic procedures and administering treatments through the use of diagnostic imaging machines and medical procedures that involve the use of ionizing radiation, sound waves, magnetic fields, radiopharmaceutical agents, technologically advanced equipment, and computer imaging software.

The radiologist is a highly trained medical doctor who diagnoses and treats diseases, by analyzing and interpreting medical images of the affected organs or tissues. The radiologist, is the person who analyzes the images, and must not be confused with the radiologist technologist, who is the healthcare worker that creates the images, using various technologies. Itís important to know that the radiologist does not work alone, they are actually a part of a medical team, which includes radiologist technologists and assistants, as well as other specialized physicians, who need the opinion of a radiologist for treating a patient.

(Suggested Reading:Top Medical Schools in 2014; Nursing Career in High Demand)

Education in Radiology:

For those looking to major in radiology-there are two undergraduate degree options in this field-

An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Radiologic Science. The 2-year AAS prepares graduates to either find entry-level employment, or to continue on to complete a 4-year BS degree. AAS programs are offered at community colleges, as well as online. Certifications in radiology technology are also available.

The 4-year BS programs, which are less common, are offered through universities and online. Both programs prepare students to become licensed, which an increasing number of states require. Admission to an AAS program requires a high school degree and an aptitude for math and science including physics, chemistry, and biology. Admission to a BS program most commonly requires an AAS degree.

(Look Up Our Directory and Listing of all Community and Technical Colleges in USA)

It is also important to find a program that has been approved by a recognized national accrediting association, such as the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiographic Technology. Most hospitals and major healthcare providers look for this during the hiring process.

(For More Information on Radiology visit: RadiologySchools.com)

Experts in the field suggest that students' looking to major in radiology should look into an associates program, get certified, work in the field to gain valuable experience that will likely help with the subject matter, and then pursue their bachelors degree. This way, students' will get first-hand exposure of the field and also, may get education benefit if their employer agrees to pay part or whole tuition for the degree.

The demand for radiologic science professionals has resulted in a substantial number of organizations that offer scholarships for training. It is worthwhile to check with various professional organizations, guidance counselors, or even hospitals and healthcare providers to learn what opportunities are available for financial aid.

The amount of education required by employers vary tremendously. While some jobs may require a one-year certification or two-year associate degree, some may require a four-year bachelor's degree. However, a career as a full-fledged radiologist requires medical school. The typical radiologic technician spends one-to-two years in school. Also, some institutions may require additional coursework or a master's degree in business administration or health administration to become a program director.

Career and Salary Prospects in Radiology:

Radiologic science degrees offer different specializations within the major. It is important for students' considering enrollment in a radiologic science degree program to consider which specialization he or she might be interested in studying. Here are few specializations within the field of radiologic science-

Radiology (MD)- Average Salary: $375,000 in 2014 (USARadiologistsalary.com);
Radiology Technology- Average Salary: $48,000-52,000 in 2014 (Indeed.com);
MRI Technology- Average Salary: $76,000 in 2014 (Indeed.com);
Radiology Therapy- Average Salary: $75,000 in 2014 (PayScale.com);
Radiology Assisting-Average Salary: $27,000 in 2014 (Indeed.com);
Nuclear Medicine- Average Salary: $72,000 in 2014 ( Indeed.com)

Radiologic professionals work in healthcare facilities and hospitals. Many radiologic professionals stay in patient care positions for their entire careers, while others try different specializations as their careers progress. Opportunities exist in other areas, such as sales of film and equipment. The companies that sell these multi-million dollar imaging machines also train the technologists who operate them.

What can be a better time than now to major in Radiology and be part of a growing field!