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How many years do doctors have to go to college for?

I am going to school to become a radiology technician. How many years does it take for me to become a radiology technician in college? What is the best way to go about it?

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Mike’s Answer

Educational Routes:

**Certificate Programs: These are short-term courses, typically lasting 1 to 2 years. They offer a quick route to becoming a radiology technician, though they may not offer many opportunities for career growth.

**Associate's Degree Programs: This is a popular choice for many aspiring radiology technicians. An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree usually takes around 2 years and offers a broader education and better job opportunities.

In essence, your journey to becoming a radiologic technologist can take anywhere from 1 to 4 years, depending on the program you opt for. Think about your career ambitions and choose a program that matches them. Make sure you fulfill all the necessary prerequisites and admission requirements, and be ready to get certified to work in the field.

The best approach to becoming a radiologic technologist is to explore accredited programs in your locality, or places you're open to moving to, and select one that fits your goals and schedule. Ensure you meet all the program's prerequisites and admission requirements.

Seek out radiologic technology programs accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) or a similar accrediting organization. Accreditation guarantees that the program adheres to quality standards and is recognized by employers.

Once you've finished your education, you'll need to get certified. The most prevalent certification is from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Some states may also require a separate license. Be ready to pass the ARRT exam or any state exams required.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Abbie,

Embarking on a career as a radiology technician usually involves two to four years of higher education.

Radiology technicians, or radiologic technologists as they are also known, are responsible for conducting diagnostic imaging examinations like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs on patients. To join this profession, it's essential to complete a postsecondary education program in radiologic technology.

There are primarily two types of educational programs in this field: associate’s degree programs and bachelor’s degree programs. The former, usually offered by community colleges and vocational schools, take about two years to finish. The latter, provided by colleges and universities, typically require four years. Both types of programs encompass coursework in anatomy, physiology, radiation physics, image evaluation, and medical ethics. They also provide clinical experience, offering students the opportunity to gain practical experience with patients and medical equipment in hospitals or clinics.

The most effective route to becoming a radiology technician is to select an educational program accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Accreditation is a seal of quality, ensuring the program provides a high-standard education and equips students for the ARRT certification exam. Upon completing an accredited program, you can then apply for ARRT certification by successfully passing a written exam. Note that some states also mandate licensure to practice as a radiology technician.

In essence, becoming a radiology technician involves two to four years of higher education, selecting an accredited educational program, and securing ARRT certification and any necessary state licensure.

May God be with you!
James Constantine.
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Jacob’s Answer

Becoming a radiology technician is a great career choice in the healthcare field, and the educational path typically requires less time compared to becoming a medical doctor. Here's what you can expect:

1. **Educational Path for Radiology Technician**:
- **Associate's Degree**: Many radiology technician programs offer a two-year Associate's degree. This is the most common path to becoming a radiologic technologist. It includes classroom instruction and clinical training to learn how to operate imaging equipment and perform diagnostic procedures.

2. **Certification and Licensing**:
- After completing your education, you'll likely need to become certified by passing an exam from a recognized certifying body, such as the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) in the United States. Some states may also require licensure.

3. **Clinical Experience**: Part of your radiology technician program will include hands-on clinical experience. This is where you'll gain practical skills working with patients and medical imaging equipment.

4. **Continuing Education**: To maintain your certification and stay current in the field, you'll need to engage in continuing education and periodically renew your certification.

**Tips for Success in Radiology Technician Education**:

1. **Research Accredited Programs**: Ensure the radiology technician program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency. Accredited programs meet quality standards and are more likely to provide a solid education.

2. **Plan Your Coursework**: Pay attention to the specific courses required in your program. Stay organized, attend classes regularly, and seek help when needed to excel in your coursework.

3. **Clinical Experience**: Take your clinical experience seriously. It's where you'll apply what you've learned in real-world settings. Be proactive, ask questions, and learn as much as you can during this phase.

4. **Certification Exam Preparation**: Start preparing for the certification exam early. There are review courses and study materials available to help you succeed.

5. **Networking**: Build relationships with instructors, fellow students, and professionals in the field. Networking can lead to job opportunities and mentorship.

6. **Stay Informed**: Radiology is a rapidly evolving field. Stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in imaging technology and healthcare practices.

Becoming a radiology technician is a rewarding career path that allows you to contribute to patient care and the medical field without the extensive years of medical school required for doctors. Remember that the specific requirements and duration of programs may vary by institution and location, so it's important to research and choose a program that aligns with your goals. Good luck on your journey to becoming a radiology technician!
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Audrey’s Answer

Hi Abbie,

Radiology techs and doctors have very different roles. Usually, it's an associate's or bachelor's degree program to become a radiology technician, which is a 2-4 year degree. A lot of community colleges have radiology technician programs, or if you want a more advanced degree, you can do a lot of the lower-level courses at a community college and then finish at a four-year university. Radiology technicians are the ones who operate the medical technology that allows us to use radiographic images to diagnose and treat patients.

Doctors are a much more advanced medical role, given that they're trained in clinical sciences and patient care, so they can make medical decisions. Doctors have to get a bachelor's degree from a four-year institution and then attend a four-year graduate program at a medical school to get their MD or DO in medicine. After that, they have to attend a three to five-year residency program. While doctors can specialize in radiology for diagnostics, there's a wide range of specialties and subspecialties of medicine.

It sounds like you're really interested in radiology, and that's great. A two or four-year program and additional certification in machines like CTs and MRIs is a fairly accessible educational path for future radiology technicians. They play an essential role in the medical system. I think Mike's answer is more specific and I agree looking for an accredited program and being prepared to take some certification exams.

Best of Luck!
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Emma’s Answer

Hi Abbie,

Becoming a radiologic technologist or radiology technician typically requires completing an educational program that leads to an associate degree, which generally takes about two years. These programs are commonly offered at community colleges, technical schools, and some universities. Once you've completed the program, you'll be eligible to sit for the certification exam, which is usually required for employment in this field.

Keep in mind that the specific duration of your education can vary depending on factors such as the program's curriculum and whether you're attending full-time or part-time. Additionally, some students may choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in radiologic sciences or a related field, which can take an additional two years or more. This might be beneficial for those interested in more advanced roles or career progression in radiologic technology.
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Catherine’s Answer

Hi Abbie,

Firstly, Technicians don’t do the same schooling as what you are asking about. You are asking about schooling for TECHNOLOGISTS who are the people who image patients. Technicians fix the equipment and work in bio med like positions while the technologist scan the patients and perform exams on patients. Also, technologist can go back to school to become PA’s (physicians assistant) or RA’s (radiologist assistants) or even to be a radiologist which is a doctor that read images and requires you go to med school.

If you want to be working as a technologist and scan or image the patient then it can range from a two year associates degree to a 4 years bachelors degree. They don’t actually do many certificate programs anymore and you usually need to be enrolled in at least an associates programs to then get a certificate from a partnered hospital. Also, some places pay more for having a bachelors and some hospitals will cross train you for other modalities (imaging types) on the job but it varies from place to place.

What I recommend is you reach out to any nearby community colleges or schools with imaging programs and see what the course structure is like because that also changes the length of your schooling because some may take longer.

A lot of places may also only offer X-ray as a starting point because other modalities like MRI, CT, Mammography and ultrasound were not “Primary Pathways” until recently meaning you can’t just start training in them until you go through an X-ray program.

As mentioned above, you’ll also have to take a couple exams. Usually they want the TEAS exam prior to acceptance and then you’ll have to sit for your boards exam to get your credentials through ARRT which can only be done after finishing clinicals and classes where you meet the standards set by your program.

It is a long process and definitely has its challenges but if you know that it is what you are really passionate about and you can stick through it to the end you should have no problem getting a job with the shortage of techs. I don’t recommend doing an imaging program if your heart isn’t in it because it’s not the type of field to work if you don’t love it.

Best of luck in your future career!

Catherine recommends the following next steps:

Talk to schools offering imaging near you
Compare lengths of programs if multiple in your area
See if they offer different primary pathways (X-ray, MRI, Ultrasound or Nuclear medicine)
Look into if you need to take the TEAS prior to applying to programs
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