Radiologic sciences are playing a larger role in the health care field, and radiology professionals with bachelor’s degrees can set themselves apart from their peers as leaders in the industry. A Bachelor of Radiation Science Technology degree can provide technical and leadership skills development to technologists hoping to take their careers to another level. With this in mind, the top five reasons to pursue this degree program are:
1. Positive Job Growth
Radiologic sciences are being used in a wide range of treatment types, creating significant growth opportunities in the sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers 7 percent job growth to be average, and it found that job opportunities for radiologic and MRI technologists will increase at a 9 percent rate for the period of 2014 through 2024. That amounts to approximately 20,700 new jobs over the course of the decade.
Radiologic technologists aren’t the only segment of the radiology sector where growth is taking place. The BLS expects the diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists job growth to occur at a 24 percent rate during that period, with total employment change to amount to 27,600 jobs.
The BLS expects the aging population to be a major contributor to this market expansion, and a close look at U.S. census data highlights another major benefit to pursing a BRST – meeting an acute societal need.
2. Helping to Solve Societal Issues
The age demographic makeup of the U.S. population is undergoing a major shift. Census data points to a large generation of baby boomers reaching ages of 65 or older, and they are generally living longer than they have in the past. In 1972, life expectancy at age 65 was 15.2 years. That figure had climbed to 19.1 years as of 2010. Furthermore, people aren’t just living longer, the proportion of elderly individuals compared to those of a working age is changing.
According to census data, approximately 62.8 percent of the population in the U.S. was aged between age 16 and 65. That figure will drop to 57.3 percent by 2030. By the time 2050 comes around, every population group will be larger than it is now, but the number of people aged 85 and older will grow from 5.9 million in 2012 to 18 million by 2050. That will amount to 4.5 percent of the total population. In 2012, individuals aged 85 and older represented just 1.9 percent of the population. Longer life is leading to a demographic change in which, by 2015, 20.9 percent of the U.S. population will be aged 65 years or older compared to just 13.7 percent in 2012. In comparison, 57.6 percent of the population will be considered of working age (18-66) in 2050. That figure was 62.8 percent in 2012.
The aging population is becoming a societal issue as highly populous older generations create an atmosphere where there are, in terms of percentages, fewer people available to take care of a larger portion of the population. Individuals who want their careers to help solve societal problems can pursue degrees, such as the BRST, that are directly aimed at helping to support the increasing number of elderly individuals in the nation.
3. Salary Increases
Altruistic considerations aside, individuals who pursue a BRST degree can position themselves for significant salary increases. Based on data from Payscale, average hourly salaries for various radiology science positions include:
- Radiologic Technologist: $20.00 per hour
- Computed Tomography Technologist: $24.31 per hour
- Cardiovascular Technologist: $26.02 per hour
- MRI Technologist: $30.00 per hour
Radiology science professionals with bachelor’s degrees, on the other hand, tend to make significantly more. Once again based on Payscale data, figures include:
- Radiation Therapist: $39.54 per hour
- Radiology Manager: $34.82 per hour
- Lead Radiologic Technologist: $27.58 per hour
- Lead MRI Technologist: $33.26 per hour
As a whole, the BLS found that the median annual wage for radiologic technologists came out at $56,670, with the upper 10 percent making $81,660 and the lowest 10 percent being paid $38,110. This range highlights how the hourly wages of associate’s degree holders tend to fall toward the lower end of the spectrum, while a bachelor’s degree puts professionals closer to the upper echelon of pay scales within the sector.
Some of these positions may not mandate a bachelor’s degree and be obtainable through experience, but a shifting certification environment adds to the role that completing a 4-year degree program plays in setting radiologic technologists up for career advances and salary increases.
4. RRA Certification
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists serves as one of the most prominent certification bodies for radiology professions in the country. It aims to ensure radiologic technologists and other experts in the field are fully prepared to improve patient care while supporting overarching industry goals for excellence. To this end, it has created certifications that help professionals certify and demonstrate their ability to achieve high standards for performance.
The ARRT has created a certification dubbed the Registered Radiologist Assistant, a standardized role that the organization believes is increasingly important as demand for radiology services rises and medical facilities look for professionals who can provide exceptional quality of care. The R.R.A. certification is designed to highlight radiologists who have completed specialized training and are fully qualified to handle day-to-day radiology tasks as well as taking on key roles within a medical team.
The RRA is emerging as a key certification option for radiology professionals, but it requires a bachelor’s degree to even sit for the test. The University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College’s BRST program is designed to satisfy the eligibility requirements for the R.R.A. Certification or serve as the foundation for individuals working toward a physician’s assistant master’s degree.
5. Staying Ahead of Innovation
While many people imagine MRI machines, ultrasound devices and radiology cancer treatments as the central part of a radiology job, the reality is that this sector is advancing quickly from a technical perspective, giving radiologic technologists opportunities to be on the cutting edge of innovation. For example, a Radiology Today Magazine report recently highlighted the rise of cone beam CT scan systems that are being used with increased frequency in the orthopedic, podiatry, dental and oral surgery sectors.
According to the article, these portable cone beam CT scanners allow for scans of extremities while they are bearing weight. For example, understanding how a knee responds when a person is standing instead of when they are laying in an MRI machine. Furthermore, the mobile solutions can be used in physician offices and similar locations, making them easy to integrate into care.
This type of technology highlights how new opportunities are constantly emerging across the radiologic technologies sector. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree program gives technologists a chance to get ahead of the trends that are emerging on the marketplace and prepare for the exciting future.
The University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College’s BRST program is designed with the changing radiology industry in mind. It blends technical training with leadership skills development, helping individuals prepare for possible post-primary pathway certifications, gain the skills to move into more lucrative management roles and be ready for the newest technologies as they arrive on the market.
If you are interested in becoming an educational or management professional in the field of medical imaging and radiologic sciences, click here to learn about the Online Bachelor of Radiation Science Technology program. Delivered online and designed to be convenient and flexible for working professionals, the program seeks to develop proficient leaders who can manage, innovate and lead change within the evolving industry.