About the Radiologic Sciences Profession
Radiographers, also known as radiologic technologists, perform diagnostic imaging examinations, accurately position patients, ensure quality diagnostic images are produced, and adhere to radiation protection regulations for themselves, their patients, and coworkers. They work closely with radiologists, the physicians who interpret medical images, to diagnose or rule out disease or injury.
Radiographers must have an interest and aptitude in the sciences and math and a strong desire to work directly with patients. They are educated in anatomy, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation protection and basic patient care. To become a registered radiologic technologist, RT(R), students must complete an accredited program, earn an academic degree, and pass a national certification examination. To remain registered, they must earn continuing education credits.
Most radiographers or radiologic technologists work in hospitals, physicians' offices and clinics, or diagnostic imaging centers. Multi-skilled RT(R)s who are educated and credentialed in more than one type of imaging technique are the most marketable. With experience and additional education, radiographers may become specialists in CT, mammography, angiography, and magnetic resonance imaging, or advance into management or education. Radiation therapy, sonography, and nuclear medicine typically require additional specialized education in a dedicated training program. Currently there are job openings throughout the country. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of radiologic technologists is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through 2022. Mean annual earnings for radiographers is $56,760 (www.bls.gov, "National Occupational and Wage Estimates", May 2013).
The NDSU Bachelor of Science, RS Major
A bachelor of science degree with a major in radiologic sciences from NDSU includes two or more years of rigorous academic course work and a two-year full-time professional-level internship in an accredited, affiliated hospital-based radiologic technology program. Transfer students need to successfully complete a minimum of 20 resident credits at NDSU prior to starting an internship. A strong science and math aptitude is important for RS majors to possess, since academic coursework includes chemistry, physics, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, trigonometry and computer science. Upon satisfactory completion of the educational and clinical experience, NDSU bestows the B.S. degree, major in Radiologic Sciences, and the graduate is eligible to take the national certification examination.
Students who have completed the pre-requisite courses and meet the grade point average (GPA) requirements established by the affiliated hospital program may be eligible to apply for the professional-level internship. Application occurs annually in the fall. Admission is competitive and based upon academic achievement, completion of prerequisite coursework, references, related work experience and an interview. In addition, applicants must comply with criminal background and student conduct requirements.
The two-year full-time internship consists of classroom and clinical instruction in patient care procedures, radiation physics and protection, principles of imaging, positioning, radiobiology and pathology. In addition to general radiography, education may also be provided in mammography, CT, and MRI. NDSU maintains affiliation with ten radiologic technology programs in the following hospitals: Sanford Medical Centers (Bismarck and Fargo, ND, Sioux Falls, SD), St. Cloud Hospital (St. Cloud, MN), Avera McKennan Hospital (Sioux Falls, SD), Rapid City Regional Hospital (Rapid City, SD), Unity Point Health (Des Moines, IA), Mercy/St. Luke's Hospitals (Cedar Rapids, IA), St. Luke's College (Sioux City, IA), and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Minneapolis, MN). Affiliated radiography programs are accredited by the Joint Review Committee for Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)
It is highly recommended that students interested in this major meet with the RS adviser for more information about degree requirements, internship sites, and admission criteria at least one year prior to anticipated internship application.
"Shadowing" is a job observation in your profession of interest. Completing a job shadow can help you better understand the daily work of professionals in your career interest area. The opportunity to see first-hand the environment in which you may someday work can help you to determine if it is a good match for your interests, skills and values. Job shadowing can also allow you an opportunity to ask specific questions you have about the career field and to interact with current professionals and interns. Other opportunities available to students to explore careers in health and the work setting of a radiologic technologist include paid work experience, volunteer experience, guest speakers in the RS 111 class, interviewing health professionals, and a wide variety of online resources. Please visit with an Allied Sciences staff member about the kinds of experiences that are right for you and how to proceed with them.
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