RPA stands for Radiology Practitioner Assistant, a title given to radiology technologists that have completed a continued education program to obtain their certification. The tasks that are performed by a RPA include:
- Invasive radiologic procedures
- Preliminary test analysis
- Fluoroscopic procedures
How Does One Become an RPA?
The following requirements are needed to become a Radiology Practitioner Assistant:
- Earn a degree from an accredited radiology training program
- Obtain certification from the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologies)
- Completion of the CBRPA (Certification Board for RPA’s) exam
RPA Degree Training Programs
A typical (BSRPA) Bachelor of Science in Radiology Practitioner Assisting program will generally last for approximately five semesters and will cover topics in:
- Patient care
- Patient assessment
- GI system
- Clinical evaluation (osseous system)
- Information management
- Invasive imaging
The college or university that you will attend generally wants the prospective student to have their certification from the American registry of radiologic technologies. As well as have worked alongside a professional radiologist for 3 years before seeking admission into an RPA program.
The (BSRS) Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences program has slightly different program requirements depending on the college or university that you will attend. Prospective students should have either am ARRT certification or be currently enrolled in a radiology program.
Courses covered will include:
- Radiation therapy
- Medical imaging
- Research methods
- Clinical skills
Depending on the college or university that you are planning to attend, you should contact the register’s office and speak with a program advisor and find out if they offer any programs to provide students with internship sites within the area.
The (MSRA) Masters of Science in Radiologist Assisting program will combine the knowledge of the two previously mentioned degree programs. At this stage in the degree process you will be provided hands-on and in classroom education. In order to enter into a Master’s degree program you must currently have your BSRS degree. Many colleges also require that you have at the very least, 1 year working in a radiation technology field within a healthcare facility where these services are needed.
The more in-depth topics covered will include:
- Medical trends
- Medical law
- Interacting with patients
- Chest procedures
- Invasive medical procedures
The programs above just go to show you that working in this field will mean continued schooling even throughout the course of your career as a radiology technician (x-ray tech). However, despite the continued schooling, the more education you have within the field the greater your chances will be of obtaining a better career opportunities and salary increase.