- The National Center for Education Statistics lists 17 institutions in Kentucky that offer various radiology programs(1).
- The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) has accredited 15 radiology programs from 14 radiology tech schools in Kentucky(2).
- The Bellarmine University in Louisville and the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College in Bowling Green are among the radiology schools in Kentucky with the highest program effectiveness data(3).
- As of May 2019, radiologic technologists and technicians in Kentucky have an average annual salary of $52,690.00(4).
Best Radiology Schools in KentuckyThe best radiology schools in the state of Kentucky have accreditation from the JRCERT. This committee is the only one with recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and from the United States Department of Education (USDE). Twelve schools offer radiography programs for Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees upon graduation. These degrees are necessary to pursue advanced radiological technology programs for specialized radiologic technology occupations. Three schools offer Bachelor of Science degree programs in radiography, magnetic resonance, and radiation therapy, which are necessary for aspiring radiologists. Prospects need a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree to pursue a medical degree to become a radiologist. The following table is a comprehensive list of all schools in Kentucky and that offer JRCERT-accredited programs(5).*:
|Radiology School||Type of Program||Degree/ Certificate||Program Length (in months)||Program Effectiveness Data (%)|
|Completion Rate||Credential Examination Pass Rate||Job Placement Rate|
|Bellarmine University Louisville, Kentucky||Radiation Therapy||Bachelor of Health Science in Radiation Therapy||21||100.00||89.00||100.00|
|Bluegrass Community and Technical College Lexington, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24||95.00||92.00||99.00|
|Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Elizabethtown, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||22||86.00||93.00||98.00|
|Hazard Community & Tech. College/Southeast Kentucky Comm & Tech College Hazard, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||22||79.00||87.00||100.00|
|Jefferson Community & Technical College Louisville, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||21||94.00||85.00||97.00|
|Madisonville Community College Madisonville, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||21||88.00||76.18||96.60|
|Morehead State University Morehead, Kentucky||Magnetic Resonance||Bachelor of Science||11||94.70||98.59||100.00|
|Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24||81.00||98.00||96.00|
|Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky||Radiography||Bachelor of Science||34||82.60||96.50||98.90|
|Owensboro Community and Technical College Owensboro, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24||57.00||99.00||100.00|
|Somerset Community College Somerset, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||21||72.70||97.80||100.00|
|Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College Bowling Green, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||21||100.00||91.14||97.32|
|Sullivan University – Dupont Circle Louisville, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24||92.00||94.00||98.00|
|Sullivan University – Lexington Lexington, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24||60.00||95.00||98.00|
|West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, Kentucky||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24||84.00||77.00||90.00|
*Data retrieved on Sept. 9, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
Other Radiology Schools in KentuckySome schools in Kentucky offer radiology technology programs that are not JRCERT-accredited. However, graduates of these programs are still eligible to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam(6). 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 Kentucky, require licensure before radiographers can practice(7). Industries also prefer hiring registered radiologic technologists. The following schools offer radiology programs but do not have JRCERT accreditation:
ATA College – Louisville, KentuckyThis private, for-profit school offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers. Twelve students completed the program during 2018-2019(8). The X-Ray Tech Limited Medical Radiography with Medical Assisting program is a 17-month associate’s degree program. Students may take the 10-month Limited Medical Radiography (LMR) option(9). This program is a hybrid, with day classes and some courses offered online. The program prepares students for the responsibilities of X-ray technicians and medical assistants. Graduates will be eligible for LMR or medical assisting certifications, or both. Sample courses include radiographic anatomy, principles of radiation, and medical law and ethics. Career options include jobs in medical clinics, outpatient care centers, immediate care centers, chiropractor’s offices, and doctor’s offices.
Hopkinsville Community College – Hopkinsville, KentuckyThis public school offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program in health science technology (HST)(10). Between 2018-2019, no students completed the degree program(11). The AAS in health science technology program prepares students for entry-level careers in health-related services(12). Coursework includes the essentials for varied professional health programs, such as radiography, diagnostic medical sonography, and medical assistance. Students have the option to proceed to an allied health program. The HST program provides a smooth transition for students who decide to expand their education. HST graduates can find career opportunities in hospitals, doctors offices, clinics, health departments, and other healthcare facilities.
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College – Cumberland, KentuckyThis public school offers a certificate program and an associate’s degree program in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers. During 2018-2019, three students completed the certificate program, while 11 students completed the associate’s program(13). The radiography program of this school prepares students for the medical diagnostic imaging responsibilities of radiographers who administer ionizing radiation. Full-time students may earn an AAS degree in two years(14). Radiologic technology programs lead to careers in industrial firms, research laboratories, outpatient medical centers, doctors’ offices, health clinics, and hospitals.
University of Kentucky – Lexington, KentuckyThis public school offers a postgraduate certificate program in medical radiologic technology or medical radiologic science for radiation therapists, and a master’s degree in radiation protection/health physics technician program(15). Between 2018-2019, one student completed the postgraduate certificate program, while eight students completed the master’s degree program. The comprehensive M.S. degree program and the graduate certificate program in general radiological medical physics is limited to didactic coursework(16). The school has a history of getting accreditation from the JRCERT from July 1, 1975, to June 30, 2009(17). As of August 2020, the program does not have a date for the next review.
How to Become a Radiologic Technologist in KentuckyTypical 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.
ApplicationSchools, colleges, and universities typically offer fall classes for radiology programs. Students must apply between January and February to join August programs. Schools may hold program orientations a month before the start of classes. Schools also accommodate online applications. Official websites require membership for easier application processes. Some official websites also offer a dedicated webpage for applicants to request info. Some schools that offer remote programs may require prospective students to join live program orientations via Zoom. Orientation schedules vary per school.
AdmissionThe admission processes of radiology schools tend to be competitive. Schools may 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 starting points in clinical education and science in radiologic technology. Financial aid departments of schools also assist students with applying for the type of aid that they qualify for.
CurriculumA standard curriculum of radiography programs includes industry fundamentals, such as theory, procedures, radiation protection, and specialized patient care. Meanwhile, radiology programs may focus on more specific clinical and didactic instruction to prepare students for specialized positions.
GraduationGraduation 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 scans and ultrasound machines. Students of JRCERT-accredited schools have better chances of securing jobs in radiologic technology upon graduation. Graduates may also join the Kentucky Society of Radiologic Technologists(18). This professional organization aims to standardize and advance the state’s radiologic practices.
Licensing Requirements in KentuckyThe ARRT provides licensing exams for radiologic technologists to practice their professions within the state of Kentucky. Only graduates of schools with ARRT certification 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. Students may complete any radiography program from a school that meets ARRT standards for the exam(19). After passing the ARRT licensure exam, radiographers must pursue continuing education to renew their license every two years. More information and additional resources regarding licensure are available at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS)(20) and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT)(21).
Career Opportunities and SalaryThe US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers an Occupational Employment Statistics Query System, which gathers the latest labor data of multiple occupations for one specific geographic area(22). Based on BLS data as of May 2019, the following table summarizes the employment rates and wages for radiologist jobs in Kentucky: State: Kentucky Period: May 2019
|Occupation||Employment(A)||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage(B)|
|Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians||870||$22.69||$47,190.00|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||770||$32.35||$67,280.00|
|Nuclear Medicine Technologists||280||$32.87||$68,370.00|
|Radiologic Technologists and Technicians||3,890||$25.33||$52,690.00|
|Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists||450||$33.54||$69,770.00|
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. Date extracted: September 8, 2020.
B. Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the corresponding hourly wage by 2,080 hours. Date extracted: September 8, 2020.Based on the occupational employment statistics of the US BLS, Kentucky is among the states with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in radiologic techs. With an estimated number of 3,890 employed radiology technologists and technicians, the rate of employment per thousand jobs is 2.05. Kentucky has a location quotient of 1.45. The location quotient indicates that the concentration of employed radiologic techs in this state is higher than the national average(23). Except for cardiovascular technologists and technicians, other specialized careers make at least $15,000 more than radiographers and rad techs. Responsibilities of each profession account for the wage gap. Radiologists may specialize in MRI, nuclear medicine technology, diagnostic medical sonography, cardiovascular technology, or radiation therapy. These professionals are physicians with a medical doctor (MD) status who diagnose and treat patients. Radiographers and rad techs are limited to operating radiologic technology machines. They may know about 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 radiologic technologists’ responsibilities, graduates may pursue radiology programs for further education.
ConclusionCurrently, there are 14 radiology schools in Kentucky with accreditation from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Students who complete accredited radiologic science programs may earn certificates, associate degrees or bachelor’s degrees in radiology. Students may take at least two years to complete radiography programs. As of May 2019, radiographers or X-ray technicians and radiologic technicians in Kentucky make an average hourly salary of $25.33, and an average annual salary of $52,690.00(24). Radiation therapy, MRI, mammography, and nuclear medicine technology, are among the specialized programs that radiography students pursue. Professionals in specialized fields earn significantly more than radiographers and radiologic technicians. Radiologists are actual physicians with advanced clinical experience. These professionals work full-time with medical imaging and radiation sciences to diagnose and treat patients. Meanwhile, radiographers may assist radiologists in the workplace but may not give formal diagnoses.
- National Center for Education Statistics. College Navigator. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=KY&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94
- JRCERT program effectiveness data. Retrieved from www.jrcert.org/resources/program-effectiveness-data/
- May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Kentucky. Occupational Employment Statistics. National Center for Education Statistics. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ky.htm
- JRCERT program effectiveness data. Op cit
- Student FAQs. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Retrieved from https://www.jrcert.org/students/student-faqs/#javelin_faq1149_276
- Who Must Be Licensed? Kentucky Board of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy. Retrieved from https://kbmirt.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx
- College Navigator – ATA College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=KY&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=1&id=447935
- X-Ray Tech Limited Medical Radiography with Medical Assisting. ATA College. Retrieved from https://www.ata.edu/programs/medical-radiography/
- Health Science Technology. Hopkins Community College. Retrieved from https://hopkinsville.kctcs.edu/education-training/program-finder/health-science-technology.aspx
- College Navigator – Hopkinsville Community College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=KY&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=1&id=156860
- Health Science Technology. Hopkins Community College. Op cit
- “College Navigator – Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.” National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=KY&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=1&id=157739
- Radiography. Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College. Retrieved from https://southeast.kctcs.edu/education-training/program-finder/radiography.aspx
- College NavigUniversity of Kentucky. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=KY&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=2&id=157085
- General Radiological Medical Physics (Graduate Certificate). University of Kentucky. Retrieved from https://www.uky.edu/academics/graduate-certificate/collegeofmedicine/general-radiological-medical-physics-graduate-certificate-0
- College NavigUniversity of Kentucky. National Center for Education Statistics. Op cit
- Kentucky Society of Radiologic Technologists, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.ksrtinc.com/
- Student FAQs. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Op cit
- Who We Are FAQ. American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Retrieved from https://www.asrt.org/main/about-asrt/mission-vision/who-we-are-faq
- National Health Service Corps Programs. Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Retrieved from https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/dpqi/hcab/Pages/nhscp.aspx
- Occupational Employment Statistics Query System. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Retrieved from https://data.bls.gov/oes/#/home
- Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2019: 29-2034 Radiologic Technologists and Technicians. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292034.htm
- May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Kentucky. Occupational Employment Statistics. National Center for Education Statistics. Op cit