Radiologic technologists and radiology technicians are essential healthcare professionals who use diagnostic imaging technologies to produce radiographic and digital images of a patient’s internal organs.
These medical imaging technologies include X-ray, sonography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography.
Radiologists analyze and interpret the resulting images and diagnose the patient’s medical condition. The images also allow radiologists to recommend a treatment plan.
Radiologic technologists typically start their careers by pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Technicians usually begin with a certificate degree.
Graduates must pass the national licensure examination before finding employment. Newly–licensed radiologic professionals may qualify for entry-level positions, such as sonographers or X-ray technicians.
The national licensure examination is administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists or ARRT.
Pursuing further training and certification is vital in finding career advancement opportunities.
Best Radiology Schools in Iowa
Different Iowa schools offer a radiography degree program ranging from certificate to bachelor’s degree programs. However, it is crucial to seek education from accredited academic institutions.
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is at the forefront of accreditation in radiation therapy, radiography, magnetic resonance, and medical dosimetry.
JRCERT assesses a program’s effectiveness through its exam completion rate, pass rate, and job placement rate. The agency releases the results of each school’s program effectiveness data annually.
Other accreditation information is available through the organization’s website at www.jrcert.org.
|Colleges||Program Name||Degree Level||Duration||Program Effectiveness(1)*||Tuition and Fees per Year(2)**|
|Exam Pass Rate||Job Placement Rate|
|Allen College in Waterloo||Radiography||Associate of Science||24 months||86%||94%||100%||$16,732|
|Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||77%||95%||100%||Resident:
|Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||22 months||76%||90%||97%||Resident:
|Mercy College of Health Sciences (Des Moines)||Radiography||Associate of Science||23 months||100%||89%||100%||$21,690|
|Mercy/St. Luke’s Hospitals in Cedar Rapids||Radiography||Certificate||24 months||91.66%||98%||100%||$3,750|
|MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City||Radiography||Certificate||22.5 months||100%||100%||100%||$3,000|
|Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||83%||91%||97%||$6,077|
|Northeast Iowa Community College in Sheldon||Radiography||Associate in Radiologic Technology||24 months||65%||76%||86%||Resident:
|Scott Community College in Bettendorf||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||88.20%||96%||97%||Resident:
|St. Luke’s College in Sioux City||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||21 months||86%||92%||95%||$13,500|
|UnityPoint Health in Des Moines||Radiography||Certificate||24 months||80%||100%||100%||$3,900|
|University of Iowa in Iowa City||Radiography||Bachelor of Science||33 months||100%||0||0||$28,000|
|University of Iowa in Iowa City||Radiation Therapy||Bachelor of Science||24 months||100%||100%||100%||Resident:
*Data retrieved on Sept. 10, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
**Data retrieved on Sept. 10, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
According to Allen College’s official website, the school has one of the state’s most respected radiography programs. The program runs for two years and offers an Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology degree.
Allen College also offers a bachelor’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography, a 21-month program that prepares students for an entry-level position in the highly–specialized sonography field.
Graduates of the associate program may further their education with the college’s bachelor’s degree offering.
Licensed radiographers may also take part in the program to earn a certification in sonography. Graduates may be eligible to take the national registry examination administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
Indian Hills Community College
Indian Hills Community College’s (IHCC) Radiologic Technology Program combines general studies, radiologic courses, and clinical training to provide students with an encompassing learning experience.
Upon graduation, students receive an applied science degree.
Classroom courses are taught in IHCC’s main campus in Ottumwa, while the clinical experience is conducted in partnership with JRCERT-accredited clinical sites.
Prospective students must submit high school and college transcripts, test results from the American College Testing (ACT), Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), or Accuplacer exam.
If a high school transcript is unavailable, applicants may submit their high school equivalency diploma scores.
Iowa Central Community College (Fort Dodge Center)
The Iowa Central Community College (ICCC) offers an intensive radiologic technology program that trains students in diagnostic imaging science and its accompanying responsibilities.
The college maintains a strict and selective admissions program. Applicants must provide a high school diploma with a general point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher. A general education (GED) test result of 550 or a High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) score of 15 is also acceptable.
ICCC has partnered with the University of Iowa in offering internships in CT, MRI, and ultrasound. Students may undergo clinical training in ICCC while taking online classes from the university.
Program graduates have the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree online at the University of Iowa.
Mercy College of Health Sciences
Mercy College of Health Sciences’ (MCHS) Radiologic Technology Program offers holistic training through a combination of liberal arts and science coursework alongside hospital and clinic-based education.
Each term starts in the summer, and aspiring students must first be accepted into MCHS and enroll in the college’s core requirement coursework before applying to the program.
Aspiring students must have a minimum GPA of 2.7 and a minimum ACT composite score of 20 or higher. They must also have a 2.0 GPA (equivalent to a C-grade) in Algebra I, Algebra II, and Biology.
Mercy/St. Luke’s Hospital
Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital’s combined radiologic technology program was first launched in 1981.
Since then, the program has stayed true to its mission of using competency-based clinical education and comprehensive didactic techniques to train highly–competent future radiologic technologists.
The 24-month full-time program is among the two accredited programs in Iowa that offer certificate programs in radiography.
MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center
The MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center’s (NIMC) prepares students to become productive and skilled radiographers.
Through the school’s certificate program, students gain knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, patient positioning, personal and patient radiation protection, and primary patient care.
NIMC has a partnership with the North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC). NIMC program graduates may continue their education in NIACC to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Radiologic Technology.
Northeast Iowa Community College
Northeast Iowa Community College’s (NICC) Radiologic Technology Program aims to provide students with competitive didactic and clinical education. The college’s primary goal is to train its students to become compassionate and professional technologists.
The college has a robust financial aid program to help students find different funding options for their studies. Funding options may include scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study setups.
Applicants may contact the NICC Office of Financial Aid to request info.
Scott Community College
Each semester of Scott Community College’s (SCC) Radiologic Technology Program begins in the fall. The two-year program requires full-time participation and includes both classroom and clinical instructions.
The Scott Community College is part of the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges group, which also has community colleges in Muscatine and Clinton, Iowa.
St. Luke’s College
St. Luke’s College equips students with an in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, radiation safety practices, radiobiology imaging equipment operation, and nursing practices.
The program also combines in-classroom and clinical training opportunities to give aspiring radiology technologists a well-rounded education.
Besides granting an associate’s degree in radiologic technology, St. Luke’s College also offers advanced certification classes.
These classes are open to licensed professional radiographers who want to further their education in CT, MRI, mammography, and sonography.
UnityPoint Health–Des Moines
UnityPoint Health in Des Moines, Iowa, offers a certificate program in radiologic technology, which educates students in radiography science.
Through an articulation agreement, UnityPoint’s certificate program graduates may pursue an associate’s degree in Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).
However, while DMACC has a radiologic technology program, it is currently not accredited by any of radiology’s major accreditation organizations.
University of Iowa
The University of Iowa (UI) offers a bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology with three professional programs, including CT and MRI, cardiovascular interventional, and breast imaging. Admission to each program is highly competitive and selective, and acceptance is not guaranteed.
UI also offers bachelor’s degrees in diagnostic medical sonography, radiation therapy, and nuclear medicine theory.
Distance learning through online programs are also available in radiologic technology and diagnostic medical sonography programs. However, online courses do not offer an academic degree.
Radiology Program vs Radiography Program
Radiology and radiography are interconnected yet distinct academic programs. In a healthcare setting, radiographers and radiologists work together to provide patients with an accurate medical diagnosis.
Radiologic technology programs focus on training students in using various diagnostic imaging technologies to produce radiographic and digital images. This degree program may take two to four years to accomplish.
Medical doctors (MD) enter radiology programs to specialize in diagnosing and treating medical conditions through radiation and related technologies.
Radiologists may specialize in interventional or diagnostic radiology and typically spend around 15 years in academic and clinical training.
The three prominent organizations that grant accreditation to colleges are:
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT)
Each organization is recognized by various government and independent accreditation agencies. They also follow country-wide accreditation standards to ensure quality tertiary education.
Authorities advise students to avoid institutions that grant degrees but do not follow proper education practices and industry standards.
Accredited colleges follow a standardized radiography curriculum and help equip students with competitive learning and job placement advantages.
Career Opportunities and Salary
Radiologic technologists are also known as radiology technicians or X-ray technologists.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 9% job outlook rate from 2019 to 2029 in radiologic technologists’ employment opportunities. BLS considers this growth as faster-than-average(3).
In 2019, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) reported that radiologic technologists’ median annual salary is $69,266(4).
The average radiology tech income in Iowa is $58,450 across all radiography disciplines(5).
One may compute the average hourly salary rate for radiologic technologists by dividing the annual compensation by the mean number of work hours per year. Based on ASRT’s report, the yearly average number of hours rendered for radiologic technologists is 2,080(6).
Dividing technologists’ annual average income of $69,266 by 2,080 gives an average hourly wage of $33.30(7).
Meanwhile, technologists in Iowa earn an estimate of $28.10 per hour(8).
The BLS reported that a large percentage of the country’s radiologic technicians work in hospitals. The other half work in various healthcare facilities, such as imaging centers, clinics, private practices, industrial offices, or corporate settings(9).
Radiologic technology programs typically last up to 24 months. Graduates must apply for a radiography license from the ARRT before seeking employment.
After accomplishing a certificate program or associate’s degree, a radiologic technologist may apply for a bachelor’s degree and specialize in one or more radiologic modalities.
Authorities advise students to seek education only from schools that follow proper education practices and industry standards.
- “Accredited Educational Programs.” Program Effectiveness Data. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed September 9, 2020. https://portal.jrcertaccreditation.org/accredited-educational-programs/search.
- “Radiologic and MRI Technologists : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed September 9, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm.
- “Radiologic Technologist Wage and Salary Survey 2019.” American Society of Radiologic Technologists, 2019. Accessed September 3, 2020. http://members.issrt.org/resources/SiteUploads/20190808/radiologic-technologist-wage-and-salary-survey-2019.pdf.