Radiologic technologists and radiology technicians are healthcare professionals trained to operate diagnostic imaging technologies to produce medical images. These images are used to diagnose a patient’s medical condition.
The various medical imaging technologies used include X-ray, sonography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography.
Radiologic technologists and technicians may pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
Upon acquiring a license, technologists may apply for employment. Entry-level positions, such as X-ray technicians and sonographers, are common for technologists with less than two years of work experience.
Pursuing further training and certification may help technologists find more career advancement opportunities.
Technologists who completed advanced training may assist radiologists in more complex procedures, such as nuclear medicine, fluoroscopy, and radiation therapy.
Best Radiology Schools in AZ
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is a recognized accreditation agency for traditional and distance learning programs in radiography, radiation therapy, magnetic resonance, and medical dosimetry.
JRCERT measures a program’s effectiveness through its exam completion rate, pass rate, and job placement rate.
The program completion rate pertains to the number of students who accomplished the program within 150% of the stated program duration(1).
The exam pass rate measures the number of students who pass the National Registry Examination (NRE) on their first try(2).
The NRE is managed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
The job placement rate compares the number of students currently employed in the discipline versus the number of students actively seeking employment(3).
JRCERT releases the results of each school’s program effectiveness annually, and all figures below are derived from data provided by the said agency at jrcert.org.
|Colleges||Program Name||Degree Level||Duration||Program Effectiveness(4)*||Tuition and Fees(5)**|
|Exam Pass Rate||Job Placement Rate|
|Arizona Western College in Yuma||Radiologic Technology||Associate of Applied Science||22 months||89%||75%||100%||Resident: $33,034
|Central Arizona College in Apache Junction||Radiologic Technology||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||85.70%||97%||100%||Resident: $2,310
|GateWay Community College in Phoenix||Medical Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||21.5 months||67%||88%||97%||Resident: $4,536
|Mohave Community College in Bullhead City||Radiologic Technology||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||92%||86%||98%||Resident: $2,784
|Pima Community College in Tucson||Radiologic Technology||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||95%||99%||100%||Resident: $2,754
|Pima Medical Institute in Mesa||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||80%||87%||87.4%||$18,897.00|
|Pima Medical Institute – Online||Radiography||Bachelor of Science||15 months||77%||No data available||No data available||$20,633|
|Pima Medical Institute – Tucson||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||85%||77%||86%||$16,158|
|Yavapai College in Prescott||Radiologic Technology||Associate of Applied Science||22 months||80%||100%||100%||Resident: $3,485
*Data retrieved on August 28, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
**Data retrieved on August 28, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
Arizona Western College
The Arizona Western College (AWC) offers a two-year Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS) degree program that prepares students for the NRE. A student must first pass the NRE to gain licensure as a radiologic technologist.
Prospective students must pass the Next Generation Placement Test, which tests students on reading, writing, and math. The college further requires students to score at least 237 points on the Next Generation Reading.
AWC only admits 20 students every summer for its radiologic technology program. Students will begin clinical rotation at 12 hours a week during their first semester. This may increase up to 40 hours upon the program’s conclusion.
The school has partnered with the Yuma Regional Medical Center and several medical institutions in the Yuma and La Paz community for its clinical rotations.
Federal, state, local, and institutional financial assistance is available. About 85% of freshmen have received financial aid, with an average amount of $5,544(6).
Central Arizona College
The Central Arizona College (CAC) offers a two-year associate degree program, divided into six trimesters, including summer periods. The program prepares students to become entry-level radiographers.
The program includes rigorous coursework in anatomy, science, math, and technical aspects of radiologic technology.
Prospective students must first earn 23 general education (GED) credits and 55 credits of major courses to graduate. Students typically spend 40 hours a week on classes and clinical training.
GateWay Community College
GateWay Community Colleges (GCC) offers a 21.5-month associate degree in medical radiography.
The program involves 40 hours per week of college classes and clinical training in affiliate hospitals. The clinical rotation begins by the first semester and may require students to render time on evenings, weekends, and between semesters.
Mohave Community College
Only 14 students may be admitted to the Mohave Community College Radiologic Technology program each fall.
The college requires accepted students to complete background certifications and classes on health sciences, particularly program health and immunization, before taking part in the major coursework.
Pima Community College
The Pima Community College (PCC) is committed to meeting its community’s needs and expectations by partnering with clinical educators and regional healthcare facilities.
The college only accepts 24 students on their radiologic technology program each year. PCC prioritizes waitlist students. Only the top eight candidates in the spring and fall application window are admitted to the program in November of the same year.
Pima Medical Institute
The Pima Medical Institute focuses on equipping radiologic technology students with competency in anatomy, examination techniques, equipment protocol, and radiation safety and protection. The program’s duration is approximately two years.
Pima Medical Institute has branches in Tucson and Mesa in the state of Arizona.
Pima Medical Institute – Online
Pima Medical Institute’s radiography students may opt to further their education by enrolling in the institute’s Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences, available in the institute’s online academic department.
The institute requires prospective students to submit a high school transcript reflecting satisfactory General Education Development (GED) scores and a copy of their ARRT certification.
Applicants must also be in radiography-related employment or have graduated from a radiography degree program within the last five years.
Yavapai College’s radiologic technology program is designed following ARRT‘s established radiography curriculum. It includes courses in anatomy and physiology, patient positioning, patient care, radiation physics, and radiographic exposure principles.
Applicants education requirements include at least 20 hours of general education credits. They must have completed 52 credit hours of major coursework.
Yavapai College also offers certificate programs in computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.
Arizona State University
Another school that offers radiology programs is the Arizona State University (ASU). Although ASU is not JRCERT-accredited, all ASU programs are accredited by the North Central Association Higher Learning Commission.
Radiology Program vs Radiography Program
Radiology and radiography are distinct medical degree programs.
Radiologic technology program focuses on operating diagnostic imaging equipment used in producing medical images of a patient’s internal organs. This degree program is specifically for aspiring radiologic technologists or radiographers and may take two to four years to accomplish.
On the other hand, a radiology program is taken by licensed physicians looking to specialize in diagnosing and treating patients’ medical conditions through radiation and its technologies.
Some doctors may sub-specialize in one or several areas of radiology after residency. Radiologists spend around 15 years in academic and clinical training.
Any prospective radiography student needs to avoid “diploma mills” or institutions that grant large numbers of educational degrees based on inferior education practices and standards(7).
Instead, it is best to seek education from certified colleges that follow a standardized radiography curriculum.
Three prominent organizations grant accreditation to colleges all over the country:
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT)
The list of accredited radiography schools is accessible on each organization’s official website. A school’s accreditation information is also listed on the school’s official website.
Career Opportunities and Salary
Radiologic technologists, also known as X-ray technologists, often hold job titles such as X-ray technicians.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a positive job outlook for radiologic and MRI technologists with a 9% increase from 2018 to 2028(8).
The BLS attributes this agile growth to the country’s fast-aging population, which may inevitably increase the rate of individuals with chronic illness. These individuals are likely to rely on imaging technology to diagnose diseases.
Radiologic technology is a broad medical term that covers individuals who work with different imaging technologies. Among its subcategory is radiography, under which x-ray technicians belong.
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) reported that the 2019 average annual salary for radiologic technologists across the United States is $69,266(9).
The ASRT report is divided by discipline and can be sorted per state. The values for X-ray technicians below were derived from the report’s “Radiography” column.
According to the report, the average yearly income for X-ray technicians is $57,865 across all states(10).
The 2019 annual average wage for X-ray technicians in Arizona is $56,702, as shown under the column for radiographers(11).
Meanwhile, the average radiology tech income in the state of Arizona is $71,949 across all disciplines(12).
Income also varies depending on a technologist’s position. According to ASRT’s report, an entry-level technologist may receive $51,763 annually while an entry-level x-ray technician may expect $48,175 in a year(13).
Technologists and technicians in senior positions may expect a significantly higher income.
A full-time senior technologist’s average salary is $75,361, while a manager or supervisor may earn around $85,539(14).
A full-time senior x-ray technician may earn $62,152, while individuals in managerial or supervisory positions may earn an average of $73,565(15).
ASRT computes the average hourly salary rate for radiologic technologists by dividing the annual compensation by the average number of hours worked per year. According to ASRT, the average number of hours worked for radiologic technologists is 2,080.
Dividing technologists’ annual average income of $69,266 by 2,080 places their average hourly salary at $33.30. Applying the same computation on the x-ray technicians’ average yearly salary of $57,865 reveals an hourly income of $27.82(16).
An estimated 87.5% of technologists work full-time while 12.5% work part-time(17).
Other radiology technology fields covered in the report include magnetic resonance (MR), sonography, computed tomography (CT), and mammography.
The BLS reported that more than 50% of the country’s radiologic technicians work in hospitals. The other half work in different healthcare facilities, such as imaging centers, medical centers, mobile clinic units, private clinics, or corporate settings(18).
The duration of a radiologic technology program may range from 15 to 24 months. From there, graduates may apply for a radiography license from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists or ARRT.
After accomplishing an associate’s degree, a radiologic technologist may opt to further their education by applying for a bachelor’s degree.
However, it is best to seek a degree from an accredited educational institution to ensure quality radiography education.
- “Program Effectiveness Data.” Joint Review on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://www.jrcert.org/resources/program-effectiveness-data/.
- “Accredited Educational Programs.” Program Effectiveness Data. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://portal.jrcertaccreditation.org/accredited-educational-programs/search.
- “Arizona Western College Financial Aid.” College Tuition Compare. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://www.collegetuitioncompare.com/edu/104160/arizona-western-college/financial-aid/.
- “Degree Mills: An Old Problem and a New Threat.” Joint Review on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://www.jrcert.org/news/degree-mills/.
- “Radiologic and MRI Technologists : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 10, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm.
- “Radiologic Technologist Wage and Salary Survey 2019.” American Society of Radiologic Technologists, 2019. Accessed August 28, 2020. http://members.issrt.org/resources/SiteUploads/20190808/radiologic-technologist-wage-and-salary-survey-2019.pdf.