Frequently Asked Questions

See below for frequently asked questions about the programs offered in the USA Dept. of Radiologic Sciences.

▼   Is the B.S. degree in Radiologic Sciences required to become a radiographer, or any of the specialty areas offered by the department?
No. The minimum requirement is the completion of a twenty-four month JRCERT or regionally accredited college/university accredited program, which grants an Associate degree. The same is true for Radiation Therapy. Privately operated ultrasound programs may require less than 24 months. Thus, applicants are encouraged to investigate all of the opportunities available from a variety of institutions in searching for a program, which best fulfills one's needs.

Worthy of mention is that many consider the completion of a bachelor's program in radiologic sciences will enhance one's opportunities to pursue employment in the following areas:
  • State and County Health Departments in Radiologic Health and Safety.
  • Sales representatives with radiology-related commercial companies.
  • Teaching positions in educational institutions as instructors in radiologic sciences.
  • Management positions in radiology departments.
  • Advanced imaging specialists in radiology departments.
▼   Must I attend a college or university in order to become a radiographer?

Effective 2015, hospital-based schools are required to establish affiliations with colleges and will conduct twenty-four month programs which lead, at a minimum, to an Associate’s Degree and certification in radiography. Regardless of who conducts the program (hospital, university, or college), graduates qualify to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists examination for licensure as a radiographer, providing the program grants, at a minimum, an associate’s degree and provided the program in question is approved by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology or a college/university regional accrediting agency.

▼   Should I attend a college-based program rather than a hospital-based program?

There is no simple answer to this question because we feel that students should thoroughly investigate both types of programs, and choose the school which fulfills the needs of the individual. Generally speaking, hospital-based programs affiliated with junior colleges require far less tuition when compared to four-year institutions, and this is an important factor to consider. It should also be stated that hospital-based programs affiliated with junior colleges generally offer quality educational programs.

Regardless of whether a program is hospital or college-based, we recommend students consider the mission and goals of a program in determining which program to attend. Simply stated, our mission is to educate men and women who want to become Registered Radiographers and who wish to prepare for that career in a college setting, while earning a bachelor's degree.

▼   If I choose a hospital-based program, will I be able to pursue a B.S. degree at USA?

Effective 2015, all hospital-based programs must be affiliated with a college, which offers at a minimum, the Associates Degree. Providing these graduates complete all of the non-radiology courses required by the Department of Radiologic Sciences and providing their radiology course work is weighted in semester or quarter hours and approved by a college, graduates of hospital-based programs may transfer to our bachelor’s program.

▼   How should I prepare for the personal interview?

There are no special preparations, nor is it recommended that one attempt to prepare for this interview as though it were an examination. The questions are general in nature and it is suggested that the applicant simply be himself/herself. Each applicant will be interviewed by members of the Admissions Committee. The interview is conducted in a round-table fashion to provide a more relaxed environment. The purpose of the interview is to obtain additional information beyond that provided by one's transcript, test scores, etc. In short, the interview is nothing more than a step or phase in the admission procedure, and applicants should not view this step in a fearful or intimidating manner. The interview process, which consists of the actual interview and the administration of a written communication skills test, will last approximately 45 minutes and applicants should plan their arrival and departure accordingly.

▼   When are the personal interviews conducted?

Although the deadline for submission of departmental application is May 1st, interviews will generally begin during the month of March and continue through the month of May. Interviews scheduled during the month of March and April are intended to expedite the interview process for those who apply prior to the published application deadline. Applicants will be allowed to choose from a list of scheduled interview dates with their preference as to the date and time of the interview. Interviews cannot be scheduled until applications have been received by the Department of Radiologic Sciences. Therefore, applicants are urged to contact the secretary of the Department of Radiologic Sciences in order to insure this information has been received. This can be accomplished by calling (251) 445-9346. Applicants will be contacted approximately two weeks before interviews begin, and appointments will be made at that time.

▼   Why must I visit a Department of Radiology?

The purpose of requiring applicants to visit the Department of Radiology is to enable applicants to see several types of x-ray examinations, as well as to allow one an opportunity to develop a better understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the radiographer. It is also hoped that visiting a Department of Radiology will assist the student in making decisions regarding his/her career goals.

▼   What is the best time to schedule a visit to a Department of Radiology?

If your application is on file in the Department of Radiologic Sciences, you will receive a letter or be contacted by phone or email asking that you call the department to schedule observation and interview appointments. The observation site will be determined by the Admissions Committee, and observation and interview appointments MUST be scheduled through the Department of Radiologic Sciences at (251) 445-9346. Observations must be conducted from 8 am until noon on a weekday (Monday - Friday). Observation forms are available on the Department's web page.

▼   I live out of town. Must I travel to the Mobile area to visit a Department of Radiology?

No. Call the Department of Radiologic Sciences at (251) 445-9346 to let us know of your plans, then you may arrange to visit a hospital closer to home. However, you must have the Radiology Administrative Director or Department Director of the radiology department you visit complete an observation form. Prior to the observation, the applicant is responsible for verifying that most of the procedures listed on the observation form will be available during the actual observation time.

▼   Are junior college transfer students accepted into the radiography certificate program?

Yes. Junior and senior college students transfer into the bachelor's program each year. Most, if not all, of the freshman and sophomore level courses taken at other institutions are transferable. To ensure transferability of a course, consult the program model curriculum for a listing of required freshman and sophomore courses. We are pleased with the success experienced by transfer students in our program and we welcome their applications. Students desiring to transfer from other radiography programs are considered on a case-by-case basis. In addition, transfer students should understand that the maximum number of credits accepted for transfer from a junior college is 60 semester hours.

▼   Will all my classes be conducted on the main campus?

No. All of the lecture and lab classes will be conducted on campus on the third floor of the Health Sciences Building. Additionally, the Department of Radiologic Sciences is affiliated with twelve hospitals and clinics in the Mobile, Baldwin and Monroe Counties, and students rotate through these hospitals in order to fulfill the clinical component of the curriculum. The clinical education centers (hospital and clinic affiliates) are the USA Health University Hospital, University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital, USA Strada Center, Providence Hospital, Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, Thomas Hospital, Thomas Medical Center, North Baldwin Infirmary (Bay Minette, AL), South Baldwin Regional Medical Center (Foley, AL), Monroe County Hospital (Monroeville), Alabama Orthopedic Clinic, and Springhill Medical Center. Due to the distance between the clinical sites and the USA campus, student schedules are arranged in order to avoid unnecessary travel. However, applicants should consider the travel requirement at the same time other financial considerations are made, i.e., tuition, books, uniforms, etc. Students must be prepared to travel up to 90 miles from campus in order to participate in the clinical education component of the curriculum.

▼   The program in radiography requires that each student attend classes on a full-time basis during the Fall, Spring, and Summer Semesters. If accepted into this program, will I be allowed a vacation?

As a student at the University of South Alabama, you do not attend classes during the break periods between semesters. Moreover, students are dismissed from classes on all holidays observed by the University. Additional information concerning attendance policies arising from student illness and other reasons for absenteeism may be obtained by calling (251) 445-9346.

▼   I live out of state, will I have to pay out-of-state tuition?

Students living in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in Florida and those living in George, Green, Harrison, Jackson, Perry and Stone Counties of Mississippi do not pay out-of-state tuition. Other students will have to pay out-of-state tuition.

NOTE: Students completing their radiography education in Mississippi, who do not live in one of the counties mentioned above, should be aware that due to the establishment of a B.S. program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, you may have to pay out-of-state tuition. You are encouraged to check with the Mississippi Academic Common Market to check on your status relative to out-of-state tuition and attendance at the University of South Alabama.

▼   Are there scholarship and/or loan programs available to students enrolled in this program?

Yes. The University of South Alabama offers financial aid assistance through various grant and loan programs. University and privately funded scholarship programs are also available. Inquiries regarding financial aid should be addressed to:

Office of Financial Aid
Meisler Hall
Suite 1200
University of South Alabama
Mobile, AL 36688-0002
(251) 460-6231

Radiography Program:
Department of Radiologic Sciences Scholarship
Mary Lou Durich Endowed Scholarship in Radiologic Sciences
Dr. Charles and Penny Newell Endowed Scholarship in Radiologic Sciences

These scholarships are awarded annually to senior radiography students at the conclusion of the fall semester.

Radiation Therapy Program:
Radiation Therapy Endowed Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded annually to a senior radiation therapy student.

Note: Students interested in receiving a scholarship are urged to complete a “FAFSA form” early in their enrollment in the radiologic sciences program. This form can be accessed at Federal Student Aid website, and is required for most scholarship programs.

▼   If I become pregnant, seriously ill, or injured, will I be able to return to classes and graduate in a timely manner?

Various policies have been developed which address absenteeism arising from student pregnancy, illness, or injury. These policies are discussed in the Student Reference Manual under the general headings of withdrawal and leave of absence.

▼   Must I complete all of the non-radiography courses in the order outlined on the model curriculum?

No. The model curriculum is merely a listing of required non-radiography courses, which may be taken in the order which best suits the student’s needs. However, it is strongly recommended that sequence courses, such as anatomy and physiology (A & P) be taken in the order listed, i.e., A & P I followed by A & P II, etc. All prerequisites MUST be completed prior to the fall semester of the year students anticipate entering the professional component of the degree program.

▼   At the conclusion of my junior year, will I be guaranteed admission to the modality of my choice?

At the conclusion of their junior year, students will have the opportunity to select an area of specialization which is referred to as Advanced Modalities.  The current areas of specialization include CT, mammography, MRI, ultrasound, radiation therapy and cardiovascular interventional imaging. In addition to these modalities, students may also select radiology administration as a companion modality which means that one can complete one clinical modality e.g., CT, plus radiology administration.

Each of these areas have limited student enrollment that is based on the number of clinical facilities and/or the number of treatment or imaging facilities available, as well as enrollment limitations imposed by the program’s national accrediting agency (JRCERT).  Thus, admission to the advanced modalities is necessarily limited. All students will be required to list their first and second choice for an area of specialization.

USA junior students should understand that admission to the advanced modalities is also extended to (1) former USA program graduates, (2) technologists from outside the department who possess appropriate qualifications and (3) graduates from other programs who must also possess appropriate qualifications. The result may produce instances where a USA junior student is denied admission to their preferred modality. However, USA students can still earn their bachelor’s degree while pursuing a different modality. Students not selected for admission to their first choice will have the opportunity to re-apply for admission to their first modality choice the following year. Obviously, waiting an additional year to be admitted to one’s first choice is not a pleasant thought. However, one’s second application to their original modality choice will definitely enhance their chance of being admitted because they will have received their bachelor’s degree as well as completed another advanced imaging modality. Moreover, the possession of certification in two advanced modalities will have a positive impact upon one’s future employment and promotion potential.

▼   I applied last year and was not accepted. Do I have to reapply for the program this year?

Yes. No waiting lists are formed. Instead, a selection process is used. Applications are not rolled over from one year to the next, so returning applicants must re-apply.

▼   Are there evening or weekend classes available?

There are no evening or weekend classes available.

▼   Do all of my pre-requisite courses need to be complete in order to apply?

Yes, all pre-requisite courses must be completed prior to enrollment in the fall semester for students who are accepted into the program.

▼   Does it matter if I take courses out-of-state?

No, as long as they have been taken at an accredited university or college.

▼   Will all of my radiography courses completed at my community college radiography program transfer to the bachelor's program?

Since community college courses are listed at the 100 and 200 levels, and USA radiography courses are 300-400 level, there is no method available at this time to establish specific course equivalency. However, the department does provide a way, in its admissions process, that allows the acceptance of 38 semester hours of upper level semester credit for community college transferees. This provision is listed in the University Bulletin and in the Department’s web page. The provision is stated as follows:

In addition to meeting all other admissions requirements, associate degree transfer radiography students are required to take a 6 hour bridge course (Rad 491-Concepts of Professional Radiologic Practice). Upon completion of the bridge course, 38 semester hours of upper level credit will be awarded for the student’s previous radiography training during the final semester before graduation. This course is offered once each year during the summer semester. Therefore, students should plan to complete the bridge course during the summer prior to their enrollment in the fall semester.

So, the 38 semester hours helps to fulfill the University’s upper level course requirement, while allowing students to graduate in three semesters, providing they complete all of the other course requirements.

▼   I received a Pell Grant to finance my education in Radiologic Sciences and earned a bachelor's degree. Can I continue to use my Pell Grant to pursue another modality such as MRI, ultrasound, CT, radiation therapy, mammography, radiology administration, vascular-interventional?

No. Any federally supported government loan or grant program prohibits the use of federal funding to support an additional baccalaureate degree or certificate in the same discipline beyond which the original funding was intended.

▼   I have a degree in biology and I would like to pursue a second degree in radiologic sciences. Can I continue to use my federally supported government loan to finance my degree in radiologic Sciences?

Yes. However, you should check with the University Office of Financial Aid for details concerning your specific financial needs, and related advising.

▼   If I have additional questions not answered here, whom should I contact?

You should contact any faculty member of the Department of Radiologic Sciences. They will be glad to answer any questions you might have. You can contact our faculty by going to the faculty page and clicking on the name beneath the photo of the faculty member you would like to contact. You may also speak with the departmental secretary by calling (251) 445-9346.