If you are considering a career in healthcare imaging, South College offers two associate degree programs that definitely are worth a look.
We chatted with Carolyn Kiser Whitt, Imaging Sciences Department Chair and Program Director for Radiography for South College Atlanta, and Lisa Newberry, Director of Diagnostic Medical Sonography at South College Atlanta for insight on the Associate of Science in Radiography and Associate of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) programs.
It is important that students considering either program attend an information session to gain a full understanding of the program. Interested students should contact their preferred South College campus to find the dates and times of upcoming information sessions, which are offered both in-person and via Zoom.
The Radiography program is designed to instruct students how to use machines to take images – X-rays – of bone and tissue for diagnostic purposes.
“It opens a variety of avenues,” Whitt said. “You don’t have to stay in just X-ray. There are abundant modalities to explore to further your career. There’s no way to get bored! For example, South College offers certificate programs in MRI and CT to eligible students. These programs allow students to gain the education needed in just six months (full-time) to seek a second credential. Multiple credentials can increase potential employment opportunities.”
Students start clinical rotations in the third week of classes, and by that time, they already are prepared to perform some basic imaging under supervision.
Radiography is a fast-paced work environment. Radiologic Technologists, also called Radiographers, see multiple patients every day. The program is best for detail-oriented students with the ability to problem solve and think critically and who enjoy working with people.
While radiography does include static images, students also learn fluoroscopy, which shows moving structures in real time – anatomy in motion.
The Associate of Science in Radiography program is designed to prepare students to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam to become certified – a requirement in many states and by many potential employers.
“The job outlook is good,” Whitt shared. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the job outlook for radiologic technologists (radiographers) is expected to grow by 7 percent through 2029, faster than the national average for all occupations.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS)
Diagnostic medical sonographers use special imaging equipment that directs sound waves into a patient’s body in procedures commonly known as sonograms or ultrasounds to assess and diagnose various medical conditions.
“The program begins with intense anatomy studies in the abdomen and other soft tissue organs, such as the thyroid,” Newberry said. “Then we move to focus on OB and gynecological procedures and more advanced anatomy and pathology as the student progresses. Each quarter, the students build on core skills that help with obtaining competencies in the clinical setting.”
The program is best for a “people person” and involves more time with each patient since DMS procedures often take much longer than radiography – up to an hour per patient. Students should be able to grasp 3-D imaging and have patience to get good images.
“They are the eyes and the ears of the doctor,” Newberry noted. “We require potential students to complete five hours of observation in the imaging field they’re pursuing. It’s so important – especially in ultrasound – because there are parts of the job that are unexpected.”
Students start clinical rotations in the third week of classes.
The Associate of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) program is designed to prepare students to take the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exams in physics (SPI Exam), abdomen (AB), and obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) to become registered with the credentials of Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or RDMS (AB)(OB).
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to grow 12 percent through 2029, much faster than the national average for all occupations.
There are other opportunities for advancement in the field as well, including a high demand for travel technologists, who move from place to place to perform imaging tests. Most travel technologists must first have a year of experience in a traditional setting.
Considering South College?
Whitt offered a glimpse of the culture in the imaging programs at South College Atlanta and said “As teachers, we’re committed to your success. We’ll help in any way we possibly can. We’re a family. We keep in touch with many former students.”
“Classmates also provide a support system for each other. They’re each going through the work and commitment that the program requires, and students become very close, and that extends beyond their time at South College as well.”
Ready to prepare for a career in healthcare imaging? Contact South College today!