Radiology Physician Assistant

What Is A Radiology Physician Assistant And What Are His Duties And Responsibilities?

radiology physician assistantRadiology PAs are highly trained health care providers who rely on the use of computer tomography machines, x-ray machines, magnetic resonance imaging machines and other similar state of the art medical technologies, to diagnose various illnesses and diseases. Just like any other physician assistant regardless of their specialization, radiology physician assistants are required to work only under the close and direct supervision of a licensed and certified radiologist. Most physician assistants who specialize in radiology in the US are highly trained in the industry, and they have a Master’s Degree in their area of expertise.

In addition to performing different tests and scans, it is also the duty of the physician assistant radiologist to assist licensed radiologists with different invasive and on-invasive procedures, to educate the patient on different illnesses, to evaluate the quality of the radiologic images, to report any and all findings and observations to the supervising licensed radiologist and such. In order to become a RPA, every professional is required to go through training, and most schools require these health care providers to have at least 24 months of clinical experience before they move on to applying to a RPA training program.

How To Become A Radiology Physician Assistant In The United States Of America?

The first step you need to take in order to pursue a blossoming and rewarding career as a radiology PA from all points of view is to enroll in a Bachelor’s degree. Look for accredited Bachelor of Science Degree programs in Radiologic Sciences, with a concentration in radiology. Most schools require their applicants to be AART-registered and to have a minimum of two years of experience in the radiology industry, under the close supervision of a professional radiologist. Moreover, students are also required to get a certification in advanced cardiac life support before they even get to star their courses. Throughout the training program, which typically lasts three to four years, the student will receive high quality training in medical ethics, clinical information management, clinical applications, the GI system, fluoroscopy, invasive imaging, patient care and assessment, psycho-social medicine and so forth. It is of utmost importance to consider only accredited training institutions – most of the radiologic PA training programs offered today are or should be recognized by the ARRT, or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

radiology physician assistant

After graduating from the Bachelor’s Degree training program, it is highly recommended to enroll in a Master’s Degree for Radiologic PAs – these programs aim to help you enrich your skills and knowledge in the field, and the programs can be completed within as little as two years. Nonetheless, if you only hold an Associate’s Degree, then the Master’s Degree may last for three years instead of two. As it happens with the previously described training program for radiology PAs, the Master’s Degree for RPAs also requires these professionals to have some level of clinical experience and internships in the field. The coursework varies greatly from one university to another, but generally speaking the Master’s Degree training program emphasizes on fields like imaging procedures, pathophysiology, patient assessment and so forth.

Certification, Licensing and Specialization Requirements For Radiology PAs


Every radiologic physician assistant is required to hold a certification and a licensure in order to work legally in all 50 states of the US. The first step one need to take after graduating from the Master’s Degree is to pursue the PANCE examination and pass it – only after that, these health care professionals can move on to applying for a state licensure. After gaining the credential of PA-C or Physician Assistant Certified, the physician assistants who want to specialize in the radiologic industry must pursue a second certification – in order for them to be granted that certification, radiology PAs must meet all the ARRT recognition criteria and to hold at least a baccalaureate degree provided by an accredited and recognized educational institution.

Following the radiography certification, these professionals must complete a minimum of 12 months of full-time clinical experience, most likely as a staff radiographer under the close supervision of a licensed and more experienced radiology physician. Nonetheless, this amount of experience can also be earned by working as an EMT or as an emergency medical technician.


  1. Radiologist Assistant and Physcian Assistant (Radiology or otherwise) are not the same thing. This is incorrect.

    1. Thank you for catching that error Summer. We have edited the article and removed any reference to “radiologist assistant” as that is an entirely different profession.

  2. Can an ultrasound tech registered with the ARDMS pursue this career or would we have to go back to school to become a radiology tech first? They do offer bachelors degrees in medical imaging for ultrasound and wasn’t sure if this would count. I work in a hospital setting now and am exposed to all imaging modalities but only have my RDMS.

    1. Unfortunately, no. You’ll have to start with xray school, become RT(R) then move on to RPA. Xray & Ultrasound are absolutely different fields so regardless of how much exposure you’re clinically seeing in other modalities such as xray or CT, there is much more into it than just that. Radiation physics, safety, pathology, all that.

  3. I have been a physician assistant for almost 3 years. I am in the process of obtaining a masters degree in advanced physician assistant studies. By March of next year I should be done. I am interested in the RPA, program. How long would the course be, being that I am already a physician assistant?….. I also would like to add, that prior to being PA, I was an xray tech for 11 years.

Comments are closed.