Radiologic Sciences Options in Radiography and Sonography
With an NDSU Bachelor of Science, RS major, a student can pursue a career path in general radiography, echocardiography, or diagnostic medical sonography.
A Bachelor of Science degree, major in Radiologic Sciences from NDSU, includes two or more years of rigorous pre-requisite college courses and a two-year full-time professional-level internship in an affiliated hospital-based program. 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, statistics, and computer science, in addition to general education courses. Upon satisfactory completion of degree requirements including the internship, NDSU bestows the baccalaureate degree, major in Radiologic Sciences, and the graduate is eligible to begin work in their respective imaging specialization.
Radiologic technologists, also known as radiographers, 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.
Radiologic technologists 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 educational program, earn an academic degree, and pass a national certification examination. To remain registered, they must earn continuing education credits.
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, RTs may become specialists in CT, mammography, 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 radiologic technologists is $58,520 (www.bls.gov, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015).
To learn more about radiologic technology, please visit:
Two options for NDSU students interested in sonography are echocardiography or diagnostic medical sonography
Sonographers are highly skilled health care professionals who use special equipment and high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of internal body structures and organs. They have a high level of patient interaction and play a vital role in providing the physician with images to interpret, assess, and diagnose medical conditions or conduct surgical procedures. Echocardiographers, also known as cardiac sonographers, evaluate the anatomy and hemodynamics (blood flow) of the heart, its chambers and valves, and related blood vessels. Diagnostic medical sonographers evaluate abdominal structures like the kidney, liver, and spleen, breast tissue, the reproductive system, blood vessels, fetal development, and musculoskeletal structures like tendons and joints.
In their professional roles, sonographers will:
- Obtain and record an accurate patient history
- Perform diagnostic procedures and obtain diagnostic images
- Analyze technical information
- Recognize the difference between normal and abnormal images and other diagnostic information
- Use independent judgment to recognize the need to extend the scope of the procedure according to diagnostic findings
- Provide the physician with an oral or written summary of the technical findings to assist in medical diagnosis
- Provide quality patient care
- Collaborate with physicians and other members of the health care team
- Prepare and maintain diagnostic imaging equipment
Sources: ARDMS, www.ardms.org/Discover-ARDMS/careers-in-sonography/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers
Given the nature of their work, sonographers should possess the qualities of:
- detail-orientation to follow instructions and note subtle differences between healthy and pathological areas of the body
- hand-eye coordination to move the scanning equipment on the patient’s body to obtain a desired image
- strong interpersonal skills to work closely with patients that are under stress, in pain, or need encouragement to obtain the image
- physical stamina to be on your feet and lift and move patients
- technical skills to understand and operate complex instruments
Sonographers work in hospitals, physician offices, and medical and diagnostic laboratories. Currently there are job openings throughout the country. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for sonographers continues to grow faster than the national average for all occupations. As imaging technology evolves, medical facilities will continue to use ultrasound to replace more costly procedures. Mean annual earnings for diagnostic medical sonographers is $63,630 (www.bls.gov, Occupational Employment and Wages", May 2016). To become registered, graduates must complete an accredited educational program or a qualifying number of paid clinical hours and pass national certifying examinations. To remain registered, they must earn continuing education credits.
In fall 2017 NDSU began an affiliation with Sanford Medical Center Fargo to offer two 21-month internships in sonography specializations - echocardiography and diagnostic medical sonography. Students must have an interest and aptitude in the sciences and math and a strong desire to work directly with patients. They will be educated in anatomy and pathophysiology, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, and basic patient care and safety.
To learn more about sonography as a profession, please visit:
- American Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
- United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
It is highly recommended that students interested in this major meet with the RS advisor for more information about degree requirements, internship sites, and admission criteria at least one year prior to anticipated internship application.