How to Choose Colleges Offering Radiology Graduate Programs
Radiology is a specialized branch in the health care industry. It utilizes imaging technology namely x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans to diagnose and treat patients. A handful of selected universities across the country are offering radiology graduate programs.
Selecting a Radiology School
Radiology graduate programs differ from school to school due to the highly specialized nature of master’s degree programs. Aspiring students have to narrow down their scope of interest in radiology and choose a school that best embodies those interests.
If a research-based career is the first choice, the student might consider choosing a school with a program that heavily focuses on the physics aspect of radiology. Those who finish a Master of Science in Radiological Physics degree program are entitled to become research team members that investigate cases and problems in radiation oncology, nuclear medicine, diagnostic radiology, and radiation biology. They are also qualified to do hands-on work in diagnostic radiology and radiation oncology fields.
Radiologic technologists who are looking for ways to increase their current pay might want to consider getting a master’s degree in radiology. According to a survey by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) in 2004, radiologic technologists had a median income of about $63,000 (www.asrt.com). Meanwhile, according to Salary.com, their median salaries are a little below $50,000 as of this year. In 2008, another survey by the ASRT showed that the radiologist assistant’s mean income was about $103,000. Students who are interested in pursuing a career along these lines will do well to go after colleges offering a Master of Science – Radiologist Assistant.
Once students have selected a field for study, they should check out their prospective schools’ resources and facilities. They should particularly look for the availability of PET scanners, image processing labs, and CT and MRI scanners. These will differ from school to school and they directly impact the educational experience of the student. Some programs take on a more hands-on approach than others during laboratory and lecture halls or seminars. But at the very least, a number of colleges offering distance-education-programs only require a physical attendance of not more than once a month as the rest of the course can be completed from home.
Radiology Graduate Program Overviews
Master of Science – Radiologist Assistant
The degree title of this program varies from school to school, but its aim will always be to make competent radiologic assistants out of their students. Those who undergo this course will take up units in human anatomy, medical terminology, image critiquing, pathophysiology, patient diagnosis and management, and medical legal issues. The Master of Science Radiologist Assistant program almost always requires hundreds of hours in a clinical placement, enabling students to acquire knowledge in the radiologic working environment from qualified professionals.
Master of Science in Radiological Physics
This program has a significant focus in radiation oncology, although this program is not fully related to radiology by nature. Students will be taking up units radiation safety, radiation therapy, radiation dosimetry, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance, and diagnostic radiology. They will spend a great amount of time in radiation laboratories. As part of the program, their students are required to submit a thesis based on an approved project relating to the field of radiological physics.