The School of Health Professions at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) recently announced its plan to introduce the first Master of Science in Imaging Sciences. The program offers training for imaging technologists in radiography, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
According to program director Laura P. Vasquez, PhD, “The program will be the only one of its kind in the country — an entry-to-the-profession master’s multi-modality program which provides eligibility for three national certifications by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.” The program is scheduled to begin in fall 2023 — applications are open now, pending full approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Vasquez added, “This will allow graduates to practice in all states.”
The program offers graduate-level training for future imaging technologists in X-ray, CT, and MRI. UT Health San Antonio hopes its program will help address imaging technologist shortages that virtually all healthcare facilities in the US have experienced since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
Professor Rajeev Suri, MD, MBA, FACR, FSIR, interim chair of the Department of Radiology, adds, “There is a marked need for technologists with this training in the community,” noting that the burnout created by the COVID pandemic caused many imaging technologists to resign or retire.
The UT Health San Antonio program is designed in a way that allows students to be eligible to sit for all three national certification exams in just two years — in dramatic contrast to the six years now required for all three certifications if the courses are taken separately. Unique features of the UT Health San Antonio program include:
- Each student has to complete each modality phase and related certification to progress to the next phase
- The program builds on the skills previously learned — beginning with radiology, then computed tomography, and finishing with magnetic resonance imaging
- Students receive clinical practicums with clinical affiliates in hospital and outpatient imaging settings
- The master’s program offers leadership, education, and research courses as preparation for graduates interested in management, research, or teaching
“A career as a medical imaging technologist can appeal to individuals who desire to work both with diagnostic technological applications and in direct patient care,” Vasquez added. “Imaging technologists have to know the anatomy and physiology of the body, pathophysiology, and pharmacology.”
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the program on June 29, 2022, pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.