Radiology Assistant Program

Do I need to complete an ARRT-approved radiology program in order to practice?

In an effort to uphold a nationwide occupational standard in education, most radiology assistant programs in the United States are baccalaureate or graduate-level programs. However, since not all states require certification, there are still plenty of radiology assistant schools offering programs that, while not endorsed by the ARRT, still provide great educational and training opportunities that can lead to great careers.

Some students decide instead to take preliminary courses or complete associate’s degrees in radiology-related fields like medical imaging sciences, diagnostic cardiac sonography, diagnostic medical sonography,

More than anything, it is important to gain some formal education that encompasses aspects of radiology assisting. All formal education should be supplemented by clinical training. Although most degree programs will incorporate a clinical practice portion within the curriculum framework of the program, some may not. However, students can often find clinical training opportunities by contacting local radiologists, hospitals, and diagnostic imaging sites and participating in job shadowing, internship, apprenticeship, or volunteer positions.

What are some typical pre-requisites for admission into radiology assistant programs?

Each radiology assistant program has its own set of pre-requisites that enrolling students must complete prior to gaining admittance. For instance, some RA programs may require that incoming students graduate from medical or diagnostic radiography programs prior to applying. Other programs only allow students that already hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college to enroll.

Common pre-requisites also include professional qualifications like national certification in radiologic technology or a diagnostic technologist license.

Furthermore, many RA programs only accept new students that have engaged in a significant amount of direct patient care and/or have two to three years of work experience practicing as ARRT certified radiographers.

Since most radiology assistant programs involve extensive clinical work, students may be asked to sign a clinical preceptor agreement, get specific immunizations, and earn their Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certifications before beginning their RA program.

Letters of recommendation, interviews, references, and the submission of GRE scores may also be requested.

What courses are found in radiology assistant programs?

Some radiology assistant programs require students to start by taking preparatory courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology I, Human Anatomy and Physiology II, English Composition, Humanities, Social Sciences, Statistics, Research Methods, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, and Human Disease.

The core curriculum for most radiology assistant programs will focus on subjects in patient assessment, quality care standards, roles of the radiology assistant, diagnostic testing and imaging, examination techniques, health data management, radiobiology, clinical radiology procedures, current health care laws, safety measures, and medical ethics in radiology.

Some examples of actual courses found within some radiology assistant programs include:   Physics of Imaging, Radiation Biology and Safety, Biostatistics, Leadership Theory and Practice, Contemporary Trends in Radiologic Science, Image Critique and Pathologic Pattern Recognition, Cardiology, Pathophysiology of Altered Health States, and Law Regulation and Risk Management.

These subjects and courses are often taught and studied using a variety of different styles. Students typically learn by observing, researching, and participating in case studies, clinical internships mirroring those holding radiology assistant jobs, imaging procedures, patient care and assessments, web-based interactions, preceptorships, presentations, instructed readings, online courses, seminars, projects, discussions, imaging modalities, and lectures.

Radiology Assistant Schools