Valencia is rolling out a new degree program this fall – one that will give students in the health profession a chance to earn their bachelor’s degree.
One of only two bachelor’s degrees offered at Valencia, the Bachelor of Science in Radiological Imaging Science will begin online classes this fall. Students who earn their bachelor’s degree in radiology science can boost their earnings, in some cases significantly, depending on the field they work in.
According to a 2007 salary survey from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, a student who earns an associate’s degree in radiography earns an average starting salary of $46,376, while a student who holds a bachelor’s degree in the field earns between $64,000 and $85,744 a year.
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in radiography also gives current sonographers and radiographers a chance to move into administration and management jobs, said Penny Conners, dean of Valencia’s Division of Allied Health. The bachelor’s program will allow the students to specialize in high-demand areas of the radiology field, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and quality management.
The University of Central Florida offered the B.S. program in radiology science, but dropped it in July 2009 because of state budget cuts. Valencia has picked up the program – and that’s good news for students. Why? Because the estimated cost of four years of study for a bachelor’s degree in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences at Valencia would be $13,554. The estimated cost at a state university would be $19,308. The cost at a private school could be as high as $37,120.
To sign up for courses for the new bachelor’s degree in radiography, students must have completed their associate in science degree and must have passed the national certification exam.
Most of the courses will be taught online, Conners said, which makes the program ideal for those who are already working in the field, but want to earn their bachelor’s degree. “There’s only one course doing clinical work” – a practicum – “so it’s very doable, even if you’re a full-time employee,” Conners said.
Meanwhile, demand for employees with a bachelor’s degree in radiology should continue to be strong. By 2014, there will be 801 project job openings in the field of radiology in Orange, Osceola, Lake, Sumter and Seminole counties, according to Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.
“It’s a good opportunity,” Conners said, adding that the bachelor’s degree program fits Valencia’s mission of serving both its students and the community. “A community college still brings that ability for someone in the community to advance themselves professionally.”