What Can You Do With A Radiology Degree?

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If you’re interested in entering the medical field, consider earning a radiology degree. Radiology is the study of using imaging technology to identify disease and diagnose and treat patients. Many people often associate radiology with cancer, because some cancer patients undergo radiation treatments; but x-rays are also included in the field of radiology, often mixed with specific types of body scanning techniques.

Applying Techniques of Radiology

There are various types of medical machinery that radiologists may use on a daily basis. These machines aid in a doctor’s ability to diagnose something as basic as a broken bone or complex as a severe case of epilepsy. Below is a list of some techniques studied in radiology.

Computed Axial Tomography (CAT) – use of x-rays and computer mathematics to observe a specific part of the human body, often using radiocontrast agents via intravenous to produce contrast in the imaging; used to diagnose life-threatening conditions such as appendicitis and cerebral hemorrhage; scans called CT or CAT scans

Fluoroscopy – use of x-ray machines to produce a series of images per second as a singular diagnostic test or used in a series of diagnostic tests; used in various procedures like cardiac catheterization and inserting intravenous catheters

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – use of magnetic fields and radio signals to observe body tissue in order to identify and diagnose a patient; often used specifically for brain or spine scans

Ultrasonography – use of ultrasound to observe soft tissue in the human body; safer than many other forms of radiology in that it does not use ionization; most commonly used to observe the health and development progress of a fetus during a woman’s pregnancy

How to Get a Degree in Radiology

There are many higher education facilities across the world that offer radiology programs, from earning your associates degree all the way up to your doctoral degree in radiology. In this section you will find three schools that offer particularly outstanding medical programs, including the field of radiology.

Drexel University provides its students with the opportunity to take advantage of an associates degree program in radiologic technology. In this program, students learn how to operate radiological equipment in order to diagnose and treat patients in laboratories of one of the best radiology programs in the U.S. This private research school has locations in both Philadelphia, PA, and Sacramento, CA, for a state-of-the-art education on either side of the country. Students can further explore the medical field in the school’s advanced degree options in biomedical engineering and other health sciences.

The University of Iowa is another school that offers its students a top-of-the-line education in medical imaging. Undergraduates can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in radiation sciences or nuclear medicine. The radiation sciences program teaches students everything from performing MRI scans and CT scans to the basics of physics so that they are able to better comprehend how to work the computer algorithms involved in imaging technology.

Johns Hopkins University, located in Baltimore, MD, also has one of the best educational programs for students interested in exploring the field of radiology. This private research school offers both in-class and online opportunities in radiology with a number of professors who have earned their doctoral degrees in related fields so that they are able to best educate students with the strong desire to learn and gain hands-on experience with imaging technology and more. Students often go on to work in the Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the highest-rated hospitals in the U.S.

Careers in Radiology

So, back to the main question: what can you do with a degree in radiology? There are plenty of career paths to explore, just some of which are described below.

Entry Level Careers in Radiology

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With an associates degree or bachelors degree in radiology, you will be able to obtain a few entry level positions in the field in order to gain experience that will allow for higher education opportunities and possible promotions. Some of these positions can be found here.

Radiology Technician

The main educational requirement necessary to become a radiology technician is an associates degree in radiology. Radiology technicians work directly with patients, so they need to be highly personable and compassionate. Most work with multiple types of radiological imaging machinery on a regular basis, but it is possible for a radiology technician to specialize in one specific type of imaging technique. Most states require the possession of a certificate or license in addition to an associates or bachelors degree.

With an associates degree in radiology, radiology technicians can earn a starting salary anywhere between $35,000 and $40,000, with room to expand as the level of experience increases.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

If you are interested in taking part in the excitement of pregnancy and helping mommies- and daddies-to-be confirm that all is running smoothly, then perhaps a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer is the right path for you. Diagnostic medical sonographers typically have an associates or bachelors degree in radiology or specifically sonography and a certificate in sonography, as well. They are responsible for preparing patients for procedures and operating ultrasound equipment, so like radiology technicians, diagnostic medical sonographers must have excellent communication skills and the ability to be very personable.

Diagnostic medical sonographers can make an average salary of $60,000 to $65,000.

Radiation Therapist

If the thought of assisting people in the treatment of cancer intrigues you, then perhaps you should consider a career as a radiation therapist. Radiation therapists are responsible for administering doses of radiation to cancer patients regularly. They also do the same for patients suffering with brain tumors, and radiation therapy can also be used to treat bad cases of acne. Radiation therapists are careful to use exact amounts of radiation required for administering treatments. They also show compassion towards their patients and possess good communication skills in order to explain proper procedures to patients.

Radiation therapists can make an average of $78,000 annually with proper education and certifications.

Advanced Careers in Radiology

After achieving your associates degree or bachelors degree in radiology and pursuing a masters and/or doctoral degree in a related field, many more job opportunities will become available to you. Some of these career paths, as well as promotional opportunities for those with associate or bachelor degrees and years of experience, are described below.

Radiology Equipment Specialist

With a bachelors degree, certification, and at least 4 to 5 years of experience, a person who majored in radiology can obtain a position as a radiology equipment specialist. This person is responsible for testing, calibrating and installing imaging equipment as well as repairing it when necessary. Without experience, applicants will not possess the advanced knowledge needed to perform these tasks successfully.

Radiology equipment specialists can earn a salary of around $45,000 to over $54,000 a year, depending on location and company.


Radiologists do not spend much time, if any, with patients. They spend most of their time analyzing results and making a diagnosis for doctors to give to their patients. For this reason, students are required to earn a bachelors degree and go on to complete at least 4 years in medical school and 4 years of residency training in order to receive positions as radiologists. They must become more than familiar with human anatomy and behaviors, as well.

Radiologists can earn a salary of well over $300,000 annually.

Companies that Hire People with Radiology Degrees

Many medical centers, including urgent care centers and hospitals, hire people who possess radiology degrees. Some of them are listed below. If you are looking to stay local, go to your local hospital’s website and check out the career section to see what positions you qualify for.

University of Kansas Hospital – multiple locations throughout the state; hires positions for radiology equipment specialists, radiology technicians, CT technologists, pharmacists, etc.

Banner Health – founded in 1937, located in Phoenix, AZ; hires radiology technicians, nurse assistants, CT technologists, etc.

Visiting Physicians Association – started in 1993, locations throughout 10 states; hires positions for radiology technicians and more

NYU Langone Medical Center – locations throughout NY; one of the best hospitals in the U.S., according to U.S. News; hires positions for ultrasound technicians and specialists, nurse managers, clinical laboratory technologists, etc.

If you are looking to start a career in radiology, make sure you apply to at least three schools to further your education and explore graduate program opportunities. It is possible to build upon your success by earning an associates degree in radiology if you are pressed for money but have the strong desire to pursue career opportunities in this field.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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