Radiology Schools in Colorado

Radiologists, radiologic technologists, and radiology technicians are health care specialists in diagnostic imaging. Production of medical images involves modalities, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, sonography, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, and mammography. Students typically need an associate’s degree from a radiography program to pursue specialized degrees in MRI or other radiology programs. Higher-ranking occupations in nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, and fluoroscopy are also available to radiology students. Upon obtaining degrees from schools with accredited radiology programs, graduates may apply for entry-level positions as radiographers who operate sonography or X-ray machines. Those who aim for specialized and higher positions may study radiology programs to prepare for specific radiology fields.

Best Radiology Schools in Colorado

The best radiology schools in the state of Colorado have accreditation from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). This is the only agency with recognition from the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Students of JRCERT-accredited schools have better chances of securing jobs in radiologic technology upon graduation. Graduates may also join the Colorado Society of Radiologic Technologists. This professional association works closely with the local Department of Health and keeps members updated in radiology fields. JRCERT-accredited radiography programs in Colorado take about two years to complete. Five schools offer radiography programs for Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees upon graduation. These degrees are necessary to pursue advanced radiology programs for specialized radiologic technology occupations. One school offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Radiologic Sciences. This course is necessary for aspiring radiologists. A bachelor’s degree is required to pursue a medical degree. Below is a summary of radiology schools in Colorado and the programs that they offer. The effectiveness of the following radiology programs is based on the latest report of the JRCERT(1):
Radiology School Type of Program Degree/ Certificate Program Length (in months) Program Effectiveness Data (%)
Completion Rate Credential Examination Pass Rate Job Placement Rate
Colorado Mesa University Grand Junction, Colorado Radiography Bachelor of Science Radiologic Sciences 22 95.00 100.00 95.00
Community College of Denver (Lowry Campus) Denver, Colorado Radiography Associate of Applied Science 21 83.00 95.00 100.00
Concorde Career CollegeAurora Aurora, Colorado Radiography Associate of Applied Science 20 63.33 89.62 95.34
Pima Medical Institute-Denver Denver, Colorado Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 81.00 98.00 95.00
Red Rocks Community College Arvada, Colorado Radiography Associate of Applied Science 21 90.00 92.00 95.00
UCH-Memorial Hospital Colorado Springs, Colorado Radiography Associate of Applied Science 23 88.80 96.90 100.00

*Data retrieved on Sept. 1, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.

Other Radiology Schools in Colorado

Some schools in the state of Colorado may offer radiography programs that are not JRCERT-accredited. However, graduates of such programs are still eligible to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam(2). As long as students complete an educational program that meets ARRT standards, they may sit for the ARRT exam. Passing the ARRT exam is required for licensure. Most states, including Colorado, require licensure before radiographers can practice. Industries also prefer hiring registered radiologic technologists. The following schools offer radiology programs but do not have JRCERT accreditation:

Aims Community CollegeGreeley, Colorado

This public school offers a radiologic technology (RAD) program for radiographers. The program has been accredited by the JRCERT from January 1, 1983 to October 11, 2006(3). As of August 2020, the program does not have a date for the next review.

Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsFort Collins, Colorado

This public school offers master’s and doctoral degree programs in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers(4). From 2018 to 2019, 12 students took the master’s program, while three completed the doctoral program.

Morgan Community CollegeFort Morgan, Colorado

This public school offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers(5). For the period of 2018-2019, six students completed the associate’s program for radiographers.

Pikes Peak Community CollegeColorado Springs, Colorado

This public school offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers(6). Twenty-seven students completed the associate’s degree program for radiographers  from 2018 to 2019.

Pueblo Community CollegePueblo, Colorado

This public school offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers(7). A total of 23 students completed the program during 2018 to 2019.

Licensing Requirements in Colorado

The ARRT provides licensing exams for radiologic technologists to practice their professions within the state of Colorado. Only graduates of ARRT-accredited schools can take the licensing exam. The JRCERT is the only recognized accrediting body for radiography programs. Completing accredited programs may boost an individual’s chances of securing entry-level positions in the industry. However, students may complete any radiography program from a school that meets ARRT standards to sit for the licensing exam(8). After passing the ARRT licensure exam, radiographers must renew their license within two years by pursuing continuing education. Licensure is mandatory to practice medicine in the state of Colorado and treat local patients(9). Moreover, the Department of Health & Environment of Colorado only requires licensure from the ARRT. Radiographers do not need additional registration(10). More information on licensure is available at a state’s local licensing board or the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT)(11).

Career Opportunities and Salary

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers an Occupational Employment Statistics Query System which gathers the latest labor data of multiple occupations for one geographical area(12) The following employment rates and wages for radiologist jobs in Colorado are based on BLS data as of May 2019: State: Colorado Period: May 2019
Occupation Employment(A) Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage(B)
Radiation Therapists 220 $45.33 $94,280
Cardiovascular Technologists and Cardiovascular Technicians 670 $33.44 $69,560
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers 1,260 $40.35 $83,920
Nuclear Medicine Technologists 340 $40.86 $84,990
Radiologic Technologists and Radiology Technicians 3,750 $31.93 $66,420
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists 490 $39.48 $82,120

A. Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers.

B. Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the corresponding hourly wage by 2,080 hours.

Date extracted: September 1, 2020 Based on the occupational employment statistics of the US BLS, specialized occupations have significantly higher income than radiologic technologists and technicians. The wage gap mainly exists because radiographers or X-ray technicians and rad techs do not conduct formal diagnoses. Radiologists may specialize in MRI, nuclear medicine technology, diagnostic medical sonography, cardiovascular technology, or radiation therapy. These professionals are actual physicians with medical doctor (MD) status who diagnose and treat patients. Radiographers and rad techs are limited to operating radiologic technology machines. They may have knowledge of appropriate courses of action when using radiologic technology. However, only radiologists can officially make assessments of diseases and decide on the best treatment plans. Although radiography programs prepare students for the responsibilities of radiologic technologists, graduates may pursue radiology programs for further education.

How to Become a Radiologic Technologist in Colorado

Typical requirements for radiology school prospects include a high school degree or general education development (GED) degree. Applicants must be at least 17 years old to enter an accredited college with a radiology program. Schools also prioritize students with a grade point average (GPA) above 3.0 for their radiologic technology programs. Having taken advanced math and science courses in high school also boosts one’s chances. For non-high school students, some schools may require prerequisite courses before admission. These subjects include physiology and anatomy, which are essential in clinical education and the science in radiologic technology. Radiography programs discuss industry fundamentals, such as theory, procedures, safety, specialized patient care, and other coursework. Meanwhile, radiology programs may focus on more specific topics to prepare students for specialized positions. Graduation from programs earns students an AAS degree. These programs may take two years to complete. AAS degree holders may apply for entry-level positions in radiology departments of hospitals as X-ray technicians, or operators of CT scan and ultrasound machines. Students may then enroll in continuing education programs for two more years. After completing these programs, radiologic technicians could pursue a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs may take four to five years to complete. These programs prepare students with radiology backgrounds for higher-ranking positions in fields such as fluoroscopy, MRI, and interventional radiology. A bachelor’s degree is also required to qualify for medical internships. Radiologic technologists may become radiologists, or licensed physicians, once they follow the educational path of a radiologist. This path includes internship programs and residency.

Conclusion

Currently, there are 11 radiology schools in Colorado. Six of these schools have accreditation from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Most of these schools offer associate degrees. Aspiring radiology students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 to enter a radiography program. High school students who have taken advanced math and health science courses may have better chances of getting accepted. In the state of Colorado, even graduates of radiologic technology programs without JRCERT accreditation may get licensure. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists certifies schools that meet its standards. Graduates from schools with ARRT certification may sit for the ARRT exam. Radiographers must pass the ARRT certification exam to get a license to practice medicine in the state. Professionals must also renew their license every other year to continue working in the industry.  As of May 2019, radiographers or X-ray technicians and radiologic technicians make an average hourly salary of $31.93, and an average annual salary of $66,420(13). Radiology schools in Colorado offer associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in radiography. Radiography programs are prerequisites for radiology programs, which are what aspiring radiologists take to become certified physicians. Radiation therapy, MRI, mammography, and nuclear medicine technology, are among the specialized programs radiography students pursue. Professionals in these radiology fields earn significantly more than radiographers and radiology technicians. Radiologists are actual physicians who work with medical imaging procedures full-time to diagnose and treat patients. Meanwhile, radiographers may assist radiologists in the workplace, but may not give formal diagnoses.
  1. JRCERT program effectiveness data. Retrieved from www.jrcert.org/resources/program-effectiveness-data/
  2. Student FAQs. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Retrieved from https://www.jrcert.org/students/student-faqs/#javelin_faq1149_276 
  3. College Navigator – Aims Community College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=CO&p=51.0814+51.0911+41.0299+51.0907+41.0204&l=91+92+93+94&ct=1+2+3&ic=1+2+3&id=126207 
  4. College Navigator – Colorado State University-Fort Collins. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=CO&p=51.0814+51.0911+41.0299+51.0907+41.0204&l=91+92+93+94&ct=1+2+3&ic=1+2+3&id=126818 
  5. College Navigator – Morgan Community College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=CO&p=51.0814+51.0911+41.0299+51.0907+41.0204&l=91+92+93+94&ct=1+2+3&ic=1+2+3&id=127617 
  6. College Navigator – Pikes Peak Community College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=CO&p=51.0814+51.0911+41.0299+51.0907+41.0204&l=91+92+93+94&ct=1+2+3&ic=1+2+3&id=127820 
  7. College Navigator – Pueblo Community College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=CO&p=51.0814+51.0911+41.0299+51.0907+41.0204&l=91+92+93+94&ct=1+2+3&ic=1+2+3&id=127884 
  8. Student FAQs. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Op cit.
  9. Medical Frequently Asked Questions. Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies – Division of Professions and Occupations. Retrieved from https://dpo.colorado.gov/Medical 
  10. X-ray machine operators and technologists. Colorado Department of Public Health  & Environment. Retrieved from https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/x-ray-machine-opr-technol 
  11. Who We Are FAQ. American Society of Radiologic Technologists.Retrieved from https://www.asrt.org/main/about-asrt/mission-vision/who-we-are-faq
  12. Occupational Employment Statistics Query System. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Retrieved from https://data.bls.gov/oes/#/home
  13. May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Colorado. Occupational Employment Statistics. National Center for Education Statistics. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.htm 
 

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