Radiologic technologists and radiology technicians are professionals who operate diagnostic imaging equipment to produce medical images. These images help analyze and diagnose a patient’s medical condition.
Technologists and technicians use various medical imaging technologies, including X-ray, sonography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography.
Radiologic technologists may pursue an associate or a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, technicians may accomplish a vocational training or an associate degree program.
Technologists and technicians may apply for employment as soon as they earn a license or pursue further training and certification.
Additional training and certification may result in better career advancement opportunities.
Technologists with advanced training may assist radiologists in more complex procedures, such as nuclear medicine, fluoroscopy, and radiation therapy.
Best Radiology Schools in Tennessee
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is an independent organization responsible for accrediting radiography programs, medical dosimetry, magnetic resonance, and radiation therapy.
JRCERT measures and collects the program effectiveness data of an accredited program. The program effectiveness data includes credential exam pass rate, job placement rate, and completion rate(1).
The complete list of results is accessible via JRCERT’s website, www.jrcert.org.
|Colleges||Program Name||Degree Level||Duration||Program Effectiveness(2)*||Tuition and Fees(3)**|
|Program Completion Rate||Exam Pass Rate||Job Placement Rate|
|Austin Peay State University in Clarksville||Radiation Therapy||Bachelor of Science||24 months||100%||67%||87%||Resident: $2,712
|Austin Peay State University in Clarksville||Radiography||Bachelor of Science||24 months||85%||86%||100%||Resident: $5,424
|Baptist Health Sciences University in Memphis||Radiation Therapy||Bachelor of Health Science||48 months||67%||84%||100%||$10,076|
|Baptist Health Sciences University in Memphis||Radiography||Bachelor of Health Science||20 months||100%||87%||99%||$10,076|
|Chattanooga State Community College in Chattanooga||Radiation Therapy||Certificate||12 months||100%||87%||97%||Resident: $5,625
|Chattanooga State Community College in Chattanooga||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||90.60%||100%||99.20%||Resident: $4,262
|Columbia State Community College in Columbia||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||22 months||77%||96%||96.90%||Resident: $4,950
|Concorde Career College – Memphis||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||21 months||79%||75%||98%||$14,148|
|East Tennessee State University in Elizabethton||Radiography||Bachelor of Science||20 months||91.20%||99.30%||100%||Resident: $9,100
|Fortis Institute – Cookeville||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||23 months||87%||78%||97%||$19,995|
|Fortis Institute – Nashville||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||91%||95%||97.80%||Resident: $5,047
|Jackson State Community College in Jackson||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||88%||83%||100%||$6,000|
|Methodist University Hospital/Methodist Healthcare in Memphis||Radiography||Certificate||24 months||88%||83%||100%||$6,000|
|Nashville General Hospital at Meharry in Nashville||Radiography||Certificate||24 months||75%||84.40%||100%||$6,250|
|Roane State Community College||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||22 months||90%||94.48%||97.70%||Resident: $4,400
|South College – Knoxville||Radiography||Associate of Science||18 months||72%||69%||96%||$26,800|
|South College – Nashville||Radiography||Associate of Science||24 months||No available data||No available data||No available data||$28,100|
|Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||22 months||95%||68%||82%||Resident: $3,651
|University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville||Radiography||Certificate||24 months||100%||98%||100%||$10,800|
|Volunteer State Community College||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||24 months||100%||91.20%||99.20%||Resident: 4,860
*Data retrieved on Sept. 2, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
**Data retrieved on Sept. 2, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
Austin Peay State University
Austin Peay State University (APSU) offers a bachelor of science degree in radiation therapy and radiography. Both programs combine instructional, theoretical, and clinical training.
The APSU holds a selective admission process, in which applicants must show a potential to complete their academic coursework. The school also has several scholarships to provide students with financial assistance.
Baptist Health Sciences University
Formerly Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences, Baptist Health Sciences University (BHSU) offers a bachelor of health science degree in medical imaging science.
The BHSU curriculum is firmly grounded in science. It is designed to meet the changing standards and requirements of the country’s accreditation organizations.
The university also offers bachelor’s degrees in diagnostic medical sonography and nuclear medicine.
Chattanooga State Community College
The Chattanooga State Community College believes that radiographers are an essential part of a healthcare team and should be competent, skilled, and professional.
Students may choose between a one-year certificate and a two-year associate’s degree program in radiologic technology. These programs prepare students for the National Registration Exam or NRE.
Columbia State Community College
The Columbia State Community College (CSCC) offers a two-year, full-scope associate’s degree program for aspiring radiographers.
Prospective students must have at least 12 hours of completed general education (GED) and have acquired a minimum general point average (GPA) of 2.5 on required courses.
Concorde Career College – Memphis
The Concorde Career College in Memphis offers an associate degree in radiologic technology, which aims to equip students with the necessary healthcare skills to become productive and highly competent technologists or technicians.
East Tennessee State University
The East Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers a bachelor of science degree in radiologic sciences geared toward preparing students for the American Registry for Radiologic Technologists’ (ARRT) certification exam.
Prospective students must first complete a two-year associate science (AS) or associate in applied science (AAS) degree before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in radiologic science.
Fortis Institute trains students to meet the dynamic and evolving demands of the imaging and radiologic profession, emphasizing excellent patient care and safe radiation practice.
Jackson State Community College
Prospective students must submit an application form to the Radiologic Technology program and a copy of official high school and college transcripts. Students must also submit their GED and American College Testing (ACT) scores, and their immunization records.
Methodist University Hospital/Methodist Healthcare
The Methodist University Hospital (MUH) is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The university aims to produce highly competent radiologic technologists with excellent critical thinking and communication skills through its certificate program.
The university has partnered with St. Joseph’s College in Maine, wherein students may apply for an associate or bachelor degree in using their MUH radiography credits.
A similar partnership also exists between MUH and Arkansas State University, where MUH certificate credits may be applied towards a bachelor’s degree.
Nashville General Hospital at Meharry
Nashville General Hospital’s (NGH) School of Health Sciences offers one of the country’s longest-running radiology tech programs.
NGH’s program includes didactic and clinical instruction for 40 hours per week, spaced within four semesters. The hospital also notes that it has the only 24-month hospital-based radiology technology program within the middle Tennessee area.
Roane State Community College
Roane State Community College’s (RSCC) offers a full-time, 22-month program that grants an associate in applied science degree to aspiring radiographers. The program is affiliated with 17 local, wherein students may perform their clinical rotations.
Given the competitive and fast-paced work environment in radiologic technology, RSCC maintains a competitive admission process.
South College offers an 18-month and a 24-month associate degree program for aspiring radiographers. Students are introduced to current diagnostic imaging equipment, safety practices, and patient care protocols during the program.
Program graduates may further their education by applying for the school’s B.S. in Health Science with a Concentration in Radiography.
Southwest Tennessee Community College
Southwest Tennessee Community College’s (STCC) coursework leads to an associate in applied science degree in radiologic technology.
Prospective students must pass the Health Occupation Aptitude Examination (HOAE) as part of the admission process. Students must submit to and pay for a criminal background check. The college notes that it cannot guarantee clinical training placement for students convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation.
The result of the background check might also influence the students’ eligibility to take the NRE.
University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville
The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s School of Radiography offers a two-year course that prepares students to become highly skilled and competent radiologic technologists or x-ray technicians.
Students may take advantage of the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s facilities, the region’s only academic medical and Level I Trauma Center.
Volunteer State Community College
Located in Gallatin, Tennessee, Volunteer State Community College (VSCC) offers a health science curriculum that focuses on radiologic technology. Program graduates earns an associate in science degree upon completing the curriculum and may be eligible to take the NRE.
Radiology Program vs Radiography Program
Radiology and radiography are distinct yet interrelated academic programs.
The radiologic technology program focuses on training health professionals in producing medical images of a patient’s internal organs, using various diagnostic imaging technologies. This degree program may take two to four years to accomplish.
A radiology program is for medical doctors looking to specialize in diagnosing and treating medical conditions through radiation and related modalities.
Radiologists may specialize in diagnostic or interventional radiology and spend around 15 years in academic and clinical training.
Accreditation is an integral part of maintaining a high standard of education that produces highly qualified healthcare professionals.
Studying in an accredited school for radiography trains and equips students to face the dynamic field of radiologic technology.
Three organizations are in charge of the accreditations of radiology and health education programs in the country:
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT)
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences, Chattanooga State Community College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center are also accredited by CAAHEP and JRCNMT(4).
Radiology Requirements in Tennessee
Radiologic technologists’ and X-ray technicians’ careers require coursework in health sciences, particularly anatomy, radiation safety and protection, equipment protocols, and patient care.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are integral for both health professions. Technologists and technicians must always observe proper examination techniques to reduce radiation exposure as minimal as possible on themselves and the patients.
Tennessee law requires all individuals performing medical imaging or radiation therapy procedures. Only personnel performing radiographic procedures in physicians’ offices were required to hold a license in the past.
Career Opportunities and Salary
Radiologic technologists, also known as X-ray technologists, often hold job titles such as X-ray technicians.
In a ten-year forecast, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 7% increase in employment opportunities for radiologic technologists and technicians from 2019 to 2029(5).
Radiologic technology is a broad medical term that covers professionals who operate different imaging technologies. Among its subcategories is “radiography,” which includes x-ray technicians.
In a survey, the American Society of RadiologicTechnologists (ASRT) noted that the 2019 average annual income for radiologic technologists is $69,266, while X-ray technicians may earn an average of $57,865 across all states(6).
The survey results are arranged per discipline and can be sorted by state. The values for X-ray technicians below were derived from the report’s “Radiography” column.
According to ASRT, the average radiology tech income in Tennessee is $57,963(7).
X-ray technicians may receive an average of $49,474 per year(8).
Income may also depend on a technologist’s position. Based on ASRT’s report, an entry-level technologist may receive $51,763 annually, while an entry-level x-ray technician may expect $48,175(9).
Technologists and technicians in senior positions may expect a significantly higher income.
A full-time senior technologist’s average annual salary is $75,361, while a manager or supervisor may earn around $85,539 a year(10).
A full-time senior x-ray technician may earn $62,152 yearly, while individuals in managerial or supervisory positions may earn an average of $73,565(11).
The salary for other radiology technology fields was also covered in the report, including magnetic resonance (MR), sonography, computed tomography (CT), and mammography.
Tennessee has 14 accredited schools that offer robust academic programs for radiologic technology. Each school aims to equip students with enough skills and working knowledge to pass the rad tech licensure exam and become licensed radiologists.
- “Program Effectiveness Data.” Joint Review on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://www.jrcert.org/resources/program-effectiveness-data/.
- “Accredited Educational Programs.” Program Effectiveness Data. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://portal.jrcertaccreditation.org/accredited-educational-programs/search.
- Esmet. “Commission on Accreditation.” CAAHEP. Accessed September 1, 2020. https://www.caahep.org/Students/Find-a-Program.aspx; “Find A Program.” JRCNMT. Accessed September 2, 2020. https://www.jrcnmt.org/find-a-program/?state=TN
- “Radiologic and MRI Technologists : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 10, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm.
- “Radiologic Technologist Wage and Salary Survey 2019.” American Society of Radiologic Technologists, 2019. Accessed August 28, 2020. http://members.issrt.org/resources/SiteUploads/20190808/radiologic-technologist-wage-and-salary-survey-2019.pdf.