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Q&A - X Ray Tech Associates Degrees

Can I work while studying for my associates degree in x ray tech?

Students studying for a radiology associates degree often work part time at hospitals or clinics while they study, which can increase your initial salary once you have graduated and give you valuable experience working with other healthcare professionals. Two-year associates programs often require you to obtain a work-study position at a local health facility during your second year. Some programs encourage students to keep work commitments to a minimum so that they do not interfere with their ability to study.

Radiologic technology is a very demanding program that requires large amounts of time spent in both the classroom and the lab. Therefore, it is difficult for students to maintain a full-time job while earning an associates in radiology. Many students face the choice of either leaving their jobs to pursue school full time or attending school part time while working. Choosing the latter lengthens the amount of time you must spend in the program.

Online students have an advantage over their traditional counterparts, as they do not have a rigid classroom schedule to follow and will usually be required to arrange their clinical hours on their own time. This flexibility makes it much easier for students to work around their classes and even work full time.

What are common assumptions about students who choose to get an associates degree in x ray tech?

One common assumption is that students who choose to get an associate degree in radiology are not capable of handling the workload of a more advanced degree. The majority of people working in radiology do in fact hold associates degrees, but this is not due to a lack of motivation or intelligence. Rather, the field itself only requires students to hold an associates degree to begin working in an entry-level position. Most bachelors degrees are awarded to radiologic technologists who are already working in a healthcare facility and have an associates degree.

Another assumption is that someone pursuing a radiology associate degree is more likely to be an older, nontraditional student. While it is true that many older adults return to school in order to advance or change their careers, most associates and bachelors degrees are awarded to people under 35.

People also assume that students studying for an associates degree will not be able to do anything with it once they graduate. However, radiologic technologists are part of a rapidly growing field in which the average salary is just over $54,000 per year. In a country with an aging population, there will always be a need for well-trained x ray techs.

What is the hardest part of the application to an on-campus or online x ray tech associates program?

Aside from the application itself, which can often be done online, students applying for admission into colleges for radiology must complete a number of additional items.

The requirements for each school vary, but you will certainly need your official high school transcripts, which can take 1 to 3 weeks to receive, or GED. You may also need to provide your SAT or ACT scores or take a scholastic level exam (SLE). Previous volunteer work or employment in a healthcare facility is often required. Students must also provide letters of reference and sometimes a personal essay.

Many programs require that you have taken a number of prerequisite courses before entry into the program, which can be the most difficult aspect of application since the time spent taking these courses adds to the overall time spent in school.

For an online associates degree in radiology, you will need these same application materials and may need to take an online orientation class to familiarize yourself with your school’s technology. You would also have to ensure that your computer meets the minimum requirements. Both online and traditional students might be asked to submit to a background check and drug screening before acceptance into the program.

Are there any brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online x ray tech associates degree program?

Temple College in partnership with McLennan Community College, both of which have excellent academic reputations in Texas, offers an accredited radiology associates online program in radiologic technology. The program prepares students to assist radiologists in the examination of patients for broken bones, ulcers, tumors, diseases or organ malfunctions. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of x ray technology and will be prepared to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam.

Students who have taken specific courses at Central Oregon Community College can enroll in the distance learning diagnostic imaging program at Linn Benton Community College. Students learn to operate equipment, process imaging information according to industry standards, utilize effective communication and provide quality patient care.

Southeast Community College’s radiologic technology program was the first accredited online radiography program in the United States. With a 98% pass rate, it is an excellent choice for an online associates degree in radiology. Students gain knowledge of radiology, surgery and emergency care while interacting with a range of ambulatory, trauma and critically ill patients. As with all entry-level online radiology programs, you will need to complete clinical rotations at a medical facility.