Benefits of an Online Radiology Degree
Doctors and nurses represent some of the most visible professions within the health care industry, but they are far from the only positions available. In fact, behind each doctor is a dedicated team of highly trained specialists who are just as necessary for providing quality patient care. One essential link in the chain is the diagnostic technician. Professionals in this field use their knowledge of radiology and medical imaging machines to help doctors diagnose patients accurately. These professionals may receive an online radiology degree.
Radiology and diagnostic imaging sciences may provide a great alternative for those who want to still take a patient-facing and service-oriented role in the health care system, but who maybe don't have the resources or desire to go through medical school.
A glimpse into the realm of radiology
Due to the nature of the work involved, radiologists, MRI technicians and other diagnostic imaging specialists tend to work almost exclusively in a clinical health care setting. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of the professionals in this field work in hospitals.[i] They frequently find themselves working with patients, as they're responsible for operating MRI machines, X-ray machines and other diagnostic imaging technology.
Some professionals apply their knowledge of radiology to therapeutic purposes - radiation therapy is a common treatment for many forms of cancer, and the machines that perform this treatment are operated by radiologists as well. Much of a radiologist's job involves operating computer and medical equipment.
Possible salaries for careers in radiology - careers gained through an online radiology degree
Most radiologists need to earn an associate's degree or equivalent schooling to pursue entry into the field.[ii]
- Radiologic technologist: 2012 median annual salary of $54,620 (21 percent projected growth through 2022)[iii]
- Radiation therapist: 2012 median annual salary of $77,560 (24 percent projected growth through 2022)[iv]
Additional skills required for careers in radiology
Unlike doctors or surgeons, becoming a radiologic technologist doesn't require extensive post-graduate schooling. However, the nature of the job and the fact that it so heavily revolves around understanding and operating complicated medical machinery means that there are special skills and education typically required. In addition to equipment-specific knowledge, O*NET also indicated that radiologic technologists also require a basic understanding of biology, neurology and psychology. Additionally, as a service-centric field, professionals in radiology generally require a basic level of customer service and active listening ability. It's also typically essential that these professionals have high-level written and verbal communication skills, as they will frequently be interfacing with doctors and other health care providers on important information like patient diagnoses.
In addition to these skills, those professionals who want to explore radiation therapy as a career should also have a high level of empathy, since clients are frequently undergoing treatment for sensitive conditions such as cancer. The technical proficiency of the profession may also be complemented by at least a cursory-level knowledge of therapy and therapeutic techniques.
[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm#tab-3 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm#tab-4 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiation-therapists.htm