“You don’t need a 4 year degree to do this”
Those words infuriated me as a student, and they still infuriate me now as I sit on the other side of the classroom. For those of you in a baccalaureate medical imaging program, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If not, I’m sure at some point you’ll come across a bitter technologist keen on informing you that pursuing a bachelor’s degree in this field isn’t worth the time. “Look at me”, they’ll say as evidence to only needing a lesser degree, when in fact, they’re usually living, walking proof of the contrary: 20 years in the same job, never moved up, never moved on, never advanced. To be fair, a majority of medical imaging professionals do only hold an associate’s degree and I have many colleagues with an associate’s that are truly exceptional at what they do. However, my point isn’t to argue that a bachelor’s degree is a requirement of being an exceptional technologist; it is that a bachelor’s degree kicks open countless doors of opportunity in an ever-expanding field. “Radiology” is a term that no longer only refers to x-ray; it now also includes magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, interventional radiology, cardiac catheterization, mammography, bone densitometry, etc. To work in any one of the aforementioned areas requires additional education and training, and is usually included in a 4 year degree. Some other advanced areas even require a bachelor’s degree. Thinking about becoming a radiation therapist? Requires a bachelor’s. Radiologist assistant? Bachelor’s. Sale’s rep/applications manager? Bachelor’s. I could go on and on. And finally, further educational opportunities aside, which candidate is more likely to get a promotion, become manager, or climb the career ladder in any way? Do I even need to answer the question? So maybe “you don’t need a 4 year degree to do this” (at least not yet), but in the end it’s probably worth it.