For enrollment in a bachelor’s degree program for radiology, prerequisites such as field experience in a hospital radiology department and academic preparation in the areas of biology, chemistry and math must be completed. Many schools also require the completion of basic medical courses, computer courses and liberal arts courses. Each academic institution has its own list of radiology prerequisites, which generally include between six and 15 courses plus cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. In special circumstances, a student without the specified requirements can speak with an adviser about substitute credit.
Completion of radiology prerequisites prepares students for admission into degree programs in radiology that enable them to gain employment as radiologic technologists, radiology technicians and ultrasound technicians upon graduation. These professionals work in private doctor’s offices, imaging centers, hospitals or clinics. An undergraduate radiology degree does not allow a person to be a radiologist, which is a term used for a medical doctor who has completed advanced study of radiology at a medical school. Associate degrees in radiology or certificates in radiology typically require a mere high school diploma or general equivalency degree.
An undergraduate enrolling at a university for a bachelor’s degree in radiology typically completes radiology prerequisites during the first year and no later than the second year before declaring a radiology major. During that time, many complete field experience requirements for admission into the radiology program. Generally, eight to 12 hours in a clinic or hospital watching diagnostic tests and activities performed by a licensed radiologist or radiology technician will suffice, provided a student obtains written proof of that experience.
Radiology prerequisites in the department of biology can include biomedical science, human physiology and human anatomy courses. Since radiology training consists of many clinical hours, prior biology courses with laboratory hours are expected. Physics and chemistry requirements can be fulfilled by any lab-based course that ranks higher than the introductory level. Advanced algebra courses are usually sufficient to fulfill radiology prerequisites for math, but other branches of math such as trigonometry or calculus can also be acceptable.
Medical prerequisites for radiology degrees at the bachelor’s degree level normally include pharmacology courses and medical terminology courses. A foundation in liberal arts ensures that future radiologists will be able to interact properly with patients. Such required liberal arts courses typically include studies in diversity, psychology or sociology as well as communication courses such as English composition, literature, business communication or public speaking. Undergraduate students who have already obtained associate degrees in radiology automatically meet these requirements, in most cases.