Radiology Schools in Iowa

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. Newlylicensed 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)**
Program Completion Rate 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: $8,632.50  Non-resident:  $11,537.50
Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge Radiography Associate of Applied Science  22 months 76% 90% 97% Resident: $5,670 Non-resident:  $7,950
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: $16,619 Non-resident:  $17,899
Scott Community College in Bettendorf Radiography Associate of Applied Science  24 months 88.20% 96% 97% Resident: $5,600 Non-resident:  $8,280
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: $3,950 Non-resident:  $13,615

*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.

Allen College

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 highlyspecialized 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 highlycompetent 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 HealthDes 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.

Accreditation

The three prominent organizations that grant accreditation to colleges are:
  • JRCERT
  • 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).

Conclusion

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.
  1. “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
  2. Ibid.
  3. “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.
  4. “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
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.

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