Bloomsburg University among leaders in nation in offering new health care degree

Date: January 31, 2005

BLOOMSBURG—The nursing shortage often grabs national headlines, but the shortage of radiology professionals is just as severe, said Judith Kipe-Nolt, professor of biological and allied health sciences at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. BU’s new master of science in radiologist assistant program is designed to help fill the demand for professionals working in radiology, a health care field that uses imaging procedures such as CAT scans, MRIs and PET scans to diagnose and treat disease and injury.

The new program, set to welcome its first class in fall 2005, introduces a new career field, the radiologist assistant (RA). This new degree category will bridge the gap between radiology technologists and radiologist physicians and was developed with support from the American College of Radiology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

A radiologist assistant, working under the supervision of a radiologist, will perform some clinical procedures currently performed by a radiologist. He or she will have duties in evaluating medical histories and patients’ conditions before and after procedures, explaining techniques to patients and obtaining consent. And the RA will help meet the needs of an increasing number of patients as the population ages, technology advances and current technologists and radiologists retire. Shortages in the radiology field are predicted to continue through 2030.

The new field also provides a career path for radiology technologists who want to take on increased responsibility in a clinical setting. Current career paths often lead to management or teaching positions, according to information from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

BU is one of the first 10 colleges and universities in the U.S. to offer the radiologist assistant degree program. Kipe-Nolt, who has served on the National Radiologist Assistant Education Council, prepared BU’s new degree proposal with Margaret Till, chair of BU’s biology and allied health sciences department. Approved by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors Jan. 13, the program builds on BU’s 25-year-old undergraduate medical imaging program that enrolls nearly 200 students.

To be eligible for BU’s master’s degree program, a prospective student must have a bachelor’s degree, American Registry of Radiologic Technologists certification in radiologic technology and at least three years of full-time work experience as a technologist. Courses in the first semester of the 45-credit, two-year program will be offered online; students will be required to attend classes at BU’s campus during the spring and summer semesters of the first year. The second year will be devoted to a year-long clinical experience, supervised by a radiologist mentor who is selected by the student. Enrollment will be limited to 25 new students per year.

By mid-February, prospective students will be able to apply for the master’s program through BU’s Web site, For more information, contact Kipe-Nolt at (570) 389-4319 or

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students and offers 65 bachelor’s, 17 master’s and one doctoral degree.