In many cases of illness or injury, before a physician can make a diagnosis, he or she needs to take a look at what's happening inside the patient. Once upon a time not so long ago, that meant ordering an x-ray. And while an x-ray is often still a doctor's first imaging option, it is no longer the only one. If x-rays aren''t conclusive, doctors now have a variety of options offering a much a higher level of detail, such as fluoroscopies, computed tomography or CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). All of these options require a radiological professional to take images of the affected areas. From x-ray technology to internal organ imaging, radiological science is a key component of medical practice, one that is only growing in importance, and not only as a diagnostic tool. New and improved imaging technology can also allow surgeons to map out a course of action prior to an operation, making surgery less invasive. Radiological professionals work in a variety of medical and health facilities, but if you think radiologists just take pictures, think again. The work can be physically exhausting. You can expect to be on your feet for long periods, and you might need to physically lift and turn disabled patients.
Degrees in Radiological Science
Whether you're a working professional or full-time student, online degrees in radiological science offer practical professional training. These programs include coursework in anatomy, physiology, and computers. Most radiology programs offer two-year degrees. Some offer one-year certification programs for nurses and other experienced health care professionals who want to switch fields. Some programs also offer bachelor's and master''s degrees in radiological technologies. These higher degrees open additional opportunities, including supervisory or administrative roles, as well as teaching positions. If you want a medical position in the burgeoning healthcare industry, online degrees in radiological science--from certification through the four-year bachelor's--can be the perfect avenue for your career advancement.
Career Outlook for Radiological Technicians
The current demand for radiological professionals continues to grow. Recent advances in medical resonance and a shortage of qualified radiology workers have made radiological science a solid career choice. The aging U.S. population is expected to increase the demand for imaging, and as the technology continues to improve the quality of images, the applications for imaging will increase, further increasing demand. The result is an industry that will remain strong well into the future.
Salaries in Radiological Technology
According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor (from May, 2006), the median annual earnings of radiological technologists and technicians was between $45,000 and $51,000, depending on whether they worked in a physicians office, hospital, or a diagnostic laboratory. While no program or degree can guarantee a position or competitive salary upon completion, the need for qualified radiological professionals means that this is a smart profession to be in for employment growth in the coming decade.