Radiation is a useful tool in modern medicine, but it takes great care, attention and training to ensure that it's used safely. Earning a degree in radiology can teach you the skills you need you to operate sensitive radiological equipment and provide a foundation for further medical education when you're ready to take your career to the next level.
Degree programs in radiology touch all points on the academic spectrum, from two-year associate plans to professional medical degrees that require post-doctoral work. Undergraduate programs tend to focus on basic patient care, medical terminology and safe procedures for operating x-ray machinery, while top-level plans cover medicine and the human body in great depth.
Many institutions across the country also offer online degrees for radiology students, in case the extra flexibility might help you fit the program into your schedule. Online radiology degrees might also come with a lower price tag for tuition, fees, books and other expenses.
Best Colleges for Radiology Degree Programs
There are more than 500 accredited radiology schools in the U.S., so we analyzed a mountain of data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to help sort out which ones were the best in the country. Click the button below to get the details on how we calculated the rankings, and read on for our list of the ten best colleges for radiology degree programs.
Our No. 1 school overall was also the most affordable institution in our top ten. Students at Weber State University paid an average of just $5,321 for their annual tuition and fees in 2015-16. This Ogden, Utah, school also got high marks in the flexibility category, thanks to its alternative tuition plans, available weekend/evening courses and more than 32 percent enrollment in distance education courses.
The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) program in radiography at WSU is among the more thorough associate programs, requiring 139 credits of coursework and taking a suggested nine semesters to complete. Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), advanced radiological sciences and more are also available, provided you've already earned entry-level radiology certification.
The Salem, Ohio, campus of Kent State University placed just behind our No. 1 school on the affordability metric, posting an average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015-16 academic year that came in under $5,700. This small school offers two- and four-year radiology programs, with a list of four specializations available for bachelor's degree students to choose from.
If you're in the market for partially online radiology degrees, KSU might be the place for you. The catalog doesn't list any fully online degrees for radiology students, but the three other health-related B.S. programs available online suggest that you'll have access to certain general education and health care courses in the virtual classroom.
Access to cutting-edge classroom technology and up-to-date course development is a must when training for health careers, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences set aside the largest raw dollar amount on our list for such instructional expenses. Only one other school in our top ten posted a higher graduation rate than this Boston institution.
The B.S. in radiology at MCPHS can be earned in two different ways, depending on your level of prior college experience. A three-year accelerated plan is available for students attending college for the first time, and those with the appropriate amount of college credits and prerequisites may qualify for a fast-track plan that can be completed in as few as 15 months of full-time study.
This small college in Bluefield, West Virginia, took the crown among our top ten schools for its percentage of students enrolled at least partially in distance education courses. Nearly two-thirds of the 2015 student body at Bluefield State College took at least some of their classes online. Affordability was high here as well -- just two other institutions on our list reported a lower average cost for tuition and fees.
The Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in radiologic technology at BSU is a campus-based program, but partially online radiology degrees can be found at the bachelor's level. Applicants for the hybrid B.S. program in imaging science must have first earned an A.S. in the field and completed their professional certification in radiography.
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences posted the No. 3 graduation rate among schools that made our top ten and features a second-ranked student-faculty ratio of 10:1. The national average ratio is closer to 16 students per faculty member, so professors here are likely to have ample time to provide some individualized instruction if you need it.
Professional courses in radiographic procedures, comparative pathology, radiation protection and CT/MRI technologies are all part of the bachelor's degree in medical radiography at this faith-based institution in Memphis, Tennessee. Students also spend 24 hours a week learning in off-campus clinical settings, gaining experience in the professional environment and interacting with patients from diverse backgrounds.
An annual average cost of tuition and fees that came in under $7,000 for the 2015-16 school year landed Indiana University Kokomo in the No. 4 spot on our affordability metric, and its weekend/evening classes and alternative tuition plans gave it high marks for flexibility. Approximately 25 percent of students took one or more classes via distance education in 2015.
An A.S. degree in radiography can be earned on campus at IU Kokomo, and students looking for online radiography degrees can pursue a B.S. in medical imaging technology that's available entirely in the virtual classroom. Laboratory and clinical sections are difficult to duplicate online, so applicants to the online B.S. program must have already earned certification in radiography, nuclear medicine, sonography or radiation therapy.
Oregon Institute of Technology put up respectable numbers in just about every category of our analysis. The Klamath Falls school ranked No. 5 in affordability and graduation rate, No. 2 for spending on academic support and instructional expenses and No. 6 in distance education enrollment. The radiologic sciences program here covers a few lesser-known modalities, such as portable radiography and quality assurance for radiologic imaging systems.
Oregon Tech also has programs that lead to fully online degrees, for radiology professionals looking to move their career forward into advanced practice or supervisory roles. The institution recommends that you be employed in the field during your online bachelor's program -- its clinical portion requires independent access to a full-service radiology lab.
At this Louisville campus of Sullivan University, formerly known as Spencerian College, a for-profit health care career school with two locations in Kentucky, students have nearly unparalleled opportunity to spend personalized instructional time with professors. The student-faculty ratio here was just 7:1 in 2015 -- less than half the average number of students per faculty member at national universities.
The A.A.S. program in radiologic technology at Sullivan's Louisville campus contains courses in radiographic positioning, radiation physics, advanced radiographic imaging and health and safety techniques. Clinical rotations for the program take students through a variety of medical settings in which radiology is used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, including trauma centers, pediatric clinics and surgical facilities.
This private, Catholic faith-based institution in Weston, Massachusetts, ranked No. 4 in our graduation rate category and features one of the more forgiving admissions policies in our top ten. Outside of those with completely open admissions -- which admit 100 percent of qualified applicants -- just one other school on our list had a higher ratio of applications to enrollments than Regis College.
Radiology students at Regis pursue an A.S. in radiography that prepares them to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists credentialing exam after graduation. The program is offered as a joint effort between Regis and Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, allowing students to train in a fully equipped working clinic.
The last college on our list was also among the most successful at guiding students through to the end of their degree programs. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health took the No. 1 spot on our list for its graduation rate, which also placed in the top 15 of the more than 500 schools we surveyed nationwide.
Two levels of radiology degree programs can be earned at NMC. The A.S. in radiologic technology requires 80 credits for graduation and typically takes 24 months of full-time study, and the B.S. in imaging sciences program can function either as an online degree completion program for certified radiology personnel or a standard bachelor's program for those with no college experience.
Radiology Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
Your education is an important part of how to become an x-ray technician, and an associate degree is the most common degree program offered in this field. You can find these programs at two-year schools across the nation, and some even offer online courses to make it easy to finish the program. If plan to pursue professional certification, look for a degree program approved by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Career Outlook for Radiology Majors
Earning a degree in radiology can't guarantee you a job in the field, but keeping your eyes on the movements of the career market can help you know what to expect after graduation and plan for how you'll take on the job search. Check out these employment projections for radiology careers.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Radiology
Most grants and scholarships for radiology undergraduates are offered through state- or institution-level programs, although the Jerman-Cahoon Student Scholarship and several other aid programs administered by ASRT have a national scope. Take a look at this quick list of scholarship opportunities for radiology students.