- Montana has four colleges with radiologic technology degree programs. according to the National Center for Education Statistics(1).
- Colleges that offer radiologic technology programs include Flathead Valley Community College, Highlands College of Montana Tech, Montana State University – Billings, and the University of Montana – Missoula.
- To become a radiologic technologist in Montana, one needs to complete a program approved by the Montana Board of Radiologic Technologists (MBRT) and pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam.
- The MBRT provides a state license for radiologic technologists and grants permits for limited X-ray procedures.
- Radiology tech jobs in Montana could experience a 17.9% increase in 2026(2).
Best Radiology Schools in MontanaThere are four colleges with radiologic technology degree programs in Montana. Students may choose from a certificate program or associate’s degree. Most of these schools require a high school diploma and a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5 to get into the radiology tech program. As of 2019, no schools in the state were accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)(3). The JRCERT is the organization responsible for accrediting various radiology programs, such as medical imaging, radiography, sonography, and radiation therapy. Here are the best radiology schools in Montana for aspiring rad tech professionals.
|Colleges||Degree Program Offered||Course Inclusions||Net Price(4)*||Required Credits|
|Flathead Valley Community College (Kalispell)||Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Radiologic Technology||Radiographic procedures, patient care in radiology, radiographic principles, and introduction to radiologic physics||$9,499||72 credits|
|Highlands College of Montana Tech (Butte)||AAS in Radiologic Technology||Introduction to diagnostic imaging, anatomy and physiology, introduction to radiologic sciences, radiographic methods, radiographic imaging, and patient care in radiology||$10,021||72 credits|
|Montana State University–Billings||AAS in Radiologic Technology||Patient care in radiology, introduction to radiologic physics, radiological technology, and clinical radiology||$11,859||80 credits|
|University of Montana–Missoula||AAS in Radiologic Technology||Patient care in radiology, radiographic methods, radiographic imaging, and radiation protection||$14,186||74 credits|
*Data retrieved on Sept. 11, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
Flathead Valley Community CollegeFlathead Valley Community College, a public two-year institution, offers an Associate of Applied Science in radiologic technology. It requires 72 credits to complete. This degree program prepares students for entry-level positions as radiologic technologists. Every semester, students experience clinical rotations to develop their skills in a clinical setting. Coursework includes math applications for allied health professionals, human anatomy and physiology, radiographic procedures, radiographic principles, radiologic physics, patient care in radiology, radiobiology, and radiographic registry review. Applicants must complete the following requirements: high school diploma, five prerequisite courses, observation in an imaging department, a well-written essay, positive references, and an interview. After completing the radiologic technology program, graduates may be qualified in all radiology competencies. They can choose to train in various procedures, such as diagnostic X-rays, CT scans, and digital radiography. Rad tech graduates can also learn patient care in a reflective and empathetic manner. The program prepares graduates to continue education in advanced areas of ultrasound, MRI, radiation therapy, or nuclear medicine.
Highlands College of Montana TechHighlands College of Montana Tech offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology. It requires 72 credits to complete. Through classroom and clinical education, students learn to master the required technology and become vital members of the patient care team. The curriculum includes introduction to diagnostic imaging, anatomy and physiology, introduction to radiologic sciences, radiographic methods, radiographic imaging, and patient care in radiology. Application for the program occurs once a year. Due to limited clinical space, a limited number of students are accepted each year. Additional admission requirements include letters of reference, job shadowing, vaccination records, background check, interview, and proof of computer proficiency. After completing the requirements for this degree program, graduates are eligible to take the ARRT certification exam before entering the workforce.
Montana State University – BillingsMontana State University – Billings offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in radiologic technology. It requires 80 credits to complete. Students learn a diverse range of skills and techniques needed for successful careers in radiography. The curriculum includes positioning techniques, principles of radiation exposure, radiographic image evaluation, malfunctioning equipment evaluation, patient care requirements, clinical applications, and relevant computer skills. Students also complete several clinical internships at local medical centers. Due to clinical and laboratory space restraints, the radiologic technology only admits 12 to 16 students a year. Students may apply once they have completed a series of prerequisites at the college.
University of Montana – MissoulaThe University of Montana (UM) offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology through the Department of Health Professions at Missoula College. The radiologic technology program consists of five semesters of classroom and clinical instruction. Between the first and second years, students also participate in a 10-week clinical rotation. Coursework includes patient care in radiology, introduction to radiologic physics, radiologic technology, and clinical radiology. Before applying for admission, prospective students must first take prerequisite general education courses. Admission is competitive and requires a separate application after acceptance into the general college. Program graduates may find career opportunities in ambulatory care settings, acute care settings, and doctors’ offices. UM’s radiologic technology program is one of the first university-based radiologic technology degrees in Montana.
Radiography Program vs. Radiology ProgramRadiography programs typically require completion of one to four years. The program courses include anatomy, pathology, patient care, medical ethics, radiation physics, and radiation protection. Radiography students may also pursue specializations, such as X-ray, computed tomography (CT), mammography, or sonography (ultrasound). Meanwhile, radiology programs focus on advanced modalities and procedures. A registered radiologic technologist may gain certification in various modalities. They include fluoroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, contrast medium injection, interventional cardiac radiography, or vascular radiography. Radiology graduates may apply for higher-paying positions or pursue further studies through a master’s or doctoral degree. Radiology programs are also the first step for individuals wanting to become a radiologist. Radiologists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat diseases using medical imaging techniques.
How to Become a Radiologic Technologist in MontanaTo work as a radiologic technologist, the state of Montana requires completion of a 24-month program in radiologic technology. It must be approved by the Montana Board of Radiologic Technologists (MBRT). The MBRT oversees licensure for radiologic technologists and grants permits for limited X-ray procedures(5). Rad techs must pass the ARRT exam before applying for a state license. Applicants who have completed the education requirement may receive a temporary permit even if they have not yet taken the ARRT exam. Licensed radiologic technologists in Montana do not have a continuing education requirement. However, the renewal of ARRT certification may require 24 hours of continuing education every two years. To receive a limited permit, X-ray technicians must first pay a $45 application fee and $40 for the original certificate. Limited X-ray technicians must complete a 104-hour course of study approved by the board, including clinical competencies in X-ray procedures. X-ray techs must also pass the ARRT Limited Scope Exam and complete six continuing education hours to be eligible for permit renewal.
Career and SalaryCareer opportunities for rad tech graduates include radiographers, X-ray technicians, sonographers, MRI technologists, or nuclear medicine technologists. Work settings may vary widely from clinics, physician’s offices, mobile units, hospitals, education, management, research, and radiographic equipment service. Rad techs in Montana may seek employment at various medical clinics and hospitals, including Benefis Hospitals in Great Falls, Billings Clinic in Billings, St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, and Community Medical Center in Missoula. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 840 radiologic technologists and radiology technicians are employed in Montana. They earn an average annual income of $55,980(6). Although there are relatively few rad tech professionals working in Montana, the job outlook is good. Rad techs in the state have a projected growth rate of 17.9% by 2026(7).
ConclusionSchools with the best radiology programs in Montana include Flathead Valley Community College, Highlands College of Montana Tech, Montana State University – Billings, and the University of Montana – Missoula. As of 2019, these schools are not accredited by the JRCERT. Students may pursue a one-year certificate program or a two-year associate’s degree. No school in Montana offers a bachelor’s or master’s degree. To become a radiologic technologist, an individual must complete a program approved by the Montana Board of Radiologic Technologists (MBRT) and pass the ARRT certification exam. The MBRT offers licensure for registered radiology techs in the state and grants permits for limited scope X-ray technicians. Montana does not have a continuing education requirement. However, ARRT certification must be renewed every two years. There are 840 radiologic technologists and radiology technicians currently employed in Montana, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite few rad techs in the state, Projections Central reported that Montana’s rad tech career opportunities could experience a 17.9% increase by 2026.
- National Center for Education Statistics. (Accessed 2020). College Navigator. Retrieved from: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
- Projections Central. (Accessed 2020). Long Term Occupational Projections. Retrieved from: https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. (Accessed 2020). Program Effectiveness Data. Retrieved from: https://www.jrcert.org/resources/program-effectiveness-data/
- Radiology Schools 411. (Accessed 2020). Radiology Technologist Schools in Montana. Retrieved from: https://www.radiologyschools411.com/montana/
- Montana.gov. (Accessed 2020). Board of Radiologic Technologists. Retrieved from: http://boards.bsd.dli.mt.gov/rts
- US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). (May 2019). Montana May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimate. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mt.htm
- Projections Central. op. cit.