Radiology Technician Schools in Illinois

  • The National Center for Education Statistics lists 40 institutions in Illinois that offer various radiology programs(1).
  • The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) has accredited 29 institutions in Illinois(2).
  • The Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Resurrection University in Chicago are among the radiology schools in Illinois with the highest program effectiveness data(3).
  • As of May 2019, radiologic technologists and technicians in Illinois have an annual average salary of $63,370(4).
Radiologists, radiologic technologists (radiographers), and radiology technicians (rad techs) are healthcare specialists in medical imaging. Production of medical images involves modalities, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, sonography, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, and mammography. Students typically need an associate’s degree from a radiography program to pursue specialized degrees from MRI or other radiology programs. High-ranking occupations in nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, and fluoroscopy are also available to radiology students. Graduates of accredited radiology programs may apply for entry-level positions. These occupations include radiographers who operate sonography or X-ray machines. Those who aim for specialized and higher positions may study radiology programs to prepare for specific radiology fields.

Best Radiology Schools in Illinois

The best radiology schools in the state of Illinois have accreditation from the JRCERT. This agency is the only one recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Students of JRCERT-accredited schools have better chances of securing jobs in radiologic technology upon graduation. Graduates may also join the Illinois State Society of Radiologic Technologists(5). This professional association offers career resources, continuing education opportunities, and networking events. JRCERT-accredited radiography programs in Illinois take about two years to complete. Schools may offer radiography programs for certificates or Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degrees. These degrees are necessary to enter advanced radiology programs for specialized radiologic technology occupations. Some schools offer Bachelor of Science degrees in radiography, radiation therapy, and magnetic resonance. Such degrees are necessary for aspiring radiologists. Prospects need bachelor’s degrees to pursue a medical degree. Based on the JRCERT’s program effectiveness data, here are some of the best JRCERT-accredited radiology schools in Illinois(6)*. The following are the top 10 schools in Illinois with the highest completion rates for radiography programs
Radiology School Type of Program Degree/ Certificate Program Length (in months) Program Effectiveness Data (%)
Completion Rate Credential Examination Pass Rate Job Placement Rate
Blessing Hospital Quincy, Illinois Radiography Certificate 24 100.00 98.00 95.00
Elgin Community College Elgin, Illinois Magnetic Resonance Certificate 12 60.00 90.60 90.60
Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 93.75 100.00 100.00
Kishwaukee College Malta, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 23 93.00 86.00 91.00
Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago, Illinois Radiation Therapy Certificate 14 100.00 100.00 100.00
Radiography Certificate 21 89.00 96.00 100.00
OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Peoria, Illinois Radiography Certificate 21 100.00 96.00 100.00
Resurrection University Chicago, Illinois Radiography Bachelor of Science 21 100.00 96.90 100.00
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 36 100.00 87.00 100.00
Magnetic Resonance Bachelor of Science 12 100.00 80.00 100.00
Radiation Therapy Bachelor of Science 12 94.70 98.80 100.00
Medical Dosimetry Master of Science 12 87.50 96.80 100.00
Swedish American Hospital Rockford, Illinois Radiography Certificate 24 100.00 100.00 100.00
Trinity College of Nursing and Health Sciences Rock Island, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 23 92.00 91.00 98.00
University of St. Francis Joliet, Illinois Radiation Therapy Bachelor of Science  Certificate 22 22 100.00 79.00 94.00

*Data retrieved on Sept. 16, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.

Other JRCERT-Accredited Radiology Schools in Illinois

Many state universities, private, and community colleges in Illinois offer radiology tech programs for prospects who want to begin a radiology career. Some schools may also offer financial aid options for non-resident students. Students have options to take full-time courses for a degree in radiology or take shorter certificate programs. Radiography programs may take at least two years to complete, while certificate programs are year-long. Below is a summary of radiology schools in Illinois and the programs that they offer. The effectiveness of the following radiology programs is from the latest JRCERT report(7)**. 
Radiology School Type of Program Degree/ Certificate Program Length (in months) Program Effectiveness Data (%)
Completion Rate Credential Examination Pass Rate Job Placement Rate
College of DuPage Glen Ellyn, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 89.00 95.00 97.00
College of Lake County Grayslake, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 95.00 95.00 98.00
Danville Area Community College Danville, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 71.00 75.00 100.00
Harper College Palatine, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 88.00 97.00 98.00
Heartland Community College Normal, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 66.00 98.00 97.00
Illinois Central CollegePeoria Campus Peoria, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 23 79.00 97.00 97.00
Kaskaskia College Centralia, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 21 67.00 92.00 97.00
Lincoln Land Community College Springfield, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 87.50 98.00 100.00
Malcolm X College Chicago, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 81.00 90.00 100.00
Mercyhealth Hospital Rockford, Illinois Radiography Certificate 24 87.50 100.00 100.00
Moraine Valley Community College Palos Hills, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 83.00 82.00 89.00
Northwestern College Bridgeview, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 21 89.00 79.00 88.00
Olney Central College Olney, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 22 73.60 89.20 95.00
Parkland College Champaign, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 89.00 85.00 100.00
Rend Lake College Ina, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 21 55.00 87.00 99.00
Richland Community College Decatur, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 75.00 100.00 97.60
Sauk Valley Community College Dixon, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 20 71.00 98.00 95.00
Southwestern Illinois College Belleville, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 88.00 93.00 98.00
Triton College River Grove, Illinois Radiography Associate of Applied Science 24 69.00 91.00 100.00

**Data retrieved on Sept. 16, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.

Other Radiology Schools in Illinois

Some schools in the state of Illinois may offer radiology technology programs that are not JRCERT-accredited. However, graduates of such programs are still eligible to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam(8). 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 Illinois, require licensure before radiographers can practice. Industries also prefer hiring registered radiologic technologists. The following schools offer radiology programs but do not have JRCERT accreditation:

Carl Sandburg College – Galesburg, Illinois

This rural public school offers a radiologic technology (RAD) program for radiographers. Between 2018 to 2019, 14 students earned an associate’s degree from this program. The program has received accreditation from the JRCERT from January 1, 1969, to October 1, 2007(9). As of August 2020, the program does not have a date for the next review.

City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College – Chicago, Illinois

This public school offers a radiologic technology (RAD) program for radiographers. Between 2018 to 2019, no students have completed the school’s associate’s degree program. The program was accredited by the JRCERT from September 1, 1972, to August 24, 2017(10). As of August 2020, the program does not have a date for the next review.

John Wood Community CollegeQuincy, Illinois

This public school offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers(11). From 2018 to 2019, five students completed the associate’s program for radiographers.

Joliet Junior College – Joliet, Illinois

This public school offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers(12). Twenty-one students completed the associate’s degree program for radiographers between 2018 and 2019.

Kankakee Community CollegeKankakee, Illinois

This public school offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers(13). A total of 14 students completed the program during 2018 to 2019.

Lewis University – Romeoville, Illinois

This private, non-profit school offers bachelor’s degree programs in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers and radiation protection technicians or health physics technicians(14). From 2018 to 2019, one student completed the radiation protection bachelor’s degree program, while none have completed the radiographer program.

National University of Health SciencesLombard, Illinois

This private, non-profit school offers a master’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers(15). One student completed the program from 2018 to 2019.

North Central CollegeNaperville, Illinois

This private, non-profit school offers a bachelor’s degree in medical radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiation therapists(16). One student completed the program during 2018 to 2019.

Oakton Community CollegeDes Plaines, Illinois

This public school offers an associate’s degree in medical radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiation therapists(17). No student completed the program during 2018 to 2019.

Rasmussen College-IllinoisRockford, Illinois

This private, for-profit school offers an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science for radiographers(18). The program is a distance education program. No student completed the program from 2018 to 2019.

Licensing Requirements in Illinois

The ARRT provides licensing exams for radiologic technologists to practice their professions within the state of Illinois. Only graduates of ARRT-accredited schools may take the licensing exam. The JRCERT is the only recognized accrediting body for radiography programs. Completing accredited programs may boost the chances of securing entry-level positions in the industry. However, students may sit for the ARRT exam as long as they complete any radiography program from a school that meets ARRT standards(19). After passing the ARRT licensure exam, radiographers must renew their license within two years by completing continuing education. In the state of Illinois, radiographers need licensure from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s Division of Nuclear Safety(20). Licensure requirements include completing an accredited radiologic technology program, passing the ARRT exam, and application fees. More information on licensure is available at a state’s local licensing board or the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT)(21).

Career Opportunities and Salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the metropolitan area of Carbondale-Marion, Illinois has one of the highest concentrations of jobs and location quotients in radiologic technologists and technicians(22). As of May 2019, Carbondale-Marion, Illinois has a location quotient of 2.45. This number suggests that the area has a higher employment concentration of radiologic technologists and radiology technicians than the national average. The BLS also offers an Occupational Employment Statistics query system, which gathers the latest labor data of multiple occupations for one geographical area(23) The following employment rates and salaries for radiologist jobs in Illinois are based on BLS data as of May 2019:
State: Illinois
Period: May 2019
Occupation Employment(A) Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage(B)
Radiation Therapists 620 $40.58 $84,420
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians 2,780 $26.14 $54,370
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers 30,30 $36.26 $75,420
Nuclear Medicine Technologists 720 $39.77 $82,710
Radiologic Technologists and Technicians 8,260 $30.47 $63,370
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists 2,130 $34.51 $71,780
1. 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 2, 2020. 2. Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the corresponding hourly wage by 2,080 hours. Date extracted: September 2, 2020. Based on the occupational employment statistics of the US BLS, specialized occupations have a significantly higher income than radiologic technologists and radiology technicians. Except for cardiovascular technologists and technicians, technical professions make at least $8,000 more than radiographers and rad techs. The wage gap mainly exists because radiographers or X-ray technicians and rad techs do not conduct formal diagnoses. Radiologists may specialize in MRI, nuclear medicine technology, diagnostic medical sonography, cardiovascular technology, or radiation therapy. These professionals are actual 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.

How to Become a Radiologic Technologist in Illinois

Radiology technician schools’ standard admission requirements 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. Schools also 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 an applicant’s chances. For non-high school students, some schools may require prerequisite courses, including physiology and anatomy. These are essential coursework in clinical education and science in radiologic technology. Radiography programs discuss industry fundamentals, such as theory, procedures, safety, and specialized patient care. Meanwhile, radiology programs may focus on more specific topics to prepare students for specialized positions. Students who graduate from radiology programs may earn an AAS degree. These programs may take two years to complete. AAS degree holders may apply for entry-level positions in the radiology departments of hospitals as X-ray technicians or CT scans and ultrasound machine operators. Students may also take shorter radiography certificate programs. These programs may take only a year to complete. Radiology schools in Illinois offer certificate programs in radiography, magnetic resonance, and radiation therapy. Bachelor’s degree programs for specialized occupations are also available. These programs prepare students with radiology backgrounds for more promising opportunities in fluoroscopy, MRI, and interventional radiology. A bachelor’s degree is also required to qualify for medical internships. Radiologic technologists may become radiologists or licensed physicians once they follow the appropriate educational path. This path includes internship programs and residency.

Conclusion

There are currently 40 radiology schools in Illinois. Twenty-nine of these schools have accreditation from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Most of these schools offer associate degrees. Aspiring radiology students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 to enter a radiography program. High school students who have taken advanced math and health science courses may have better chances of getting accepted. Some radiologic technology programs have no JRCERT accreditation. Graduates may still apply for licensure from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Schools that meet ARRT standards receive certification from the organization. Graduates from schools with ARRT certification may sit for the ARRT exam. Radiographers must pass the ARRT certification exam to get a license to practice medicine in the state. Professionals must also renew their license every other year to continue working in the industry.  As of May 2019, radiographers or X-ray technicians and radiologic technicians in Illinois make an average hourly salary of $30.47, and an average annual salary of $63,370.00(24). Radiology schools in Illinois offer certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees in radiography. Radiography programs are prerequisites for radiology programs, which is what aspiring radiologists take to become certified physicians. Radiation therapy, MRI, mammography, and nuclear medicine technology, are among the specialized programs that radiography students pursue. Professionals in these fields earn significantly more than radiographers and radiologic technicians. Radiologists are actual physicians who work with medical imaging procedures full-time to diagnose and treat patients. Meanwhile, radiographers may assist radiologists in the workplace. However, they cannot give formal diagnoses.
  1. National Center for Education Statistics. College Navigator. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94 
  2. JRCERT program effectiveness data. Retrieved from www.jrcert.org/resources/program-effectiveness-data/
  3. Ibid
  4. Occupational Employment Statistics Query System. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Retrieved from https://data.bls.gov/oes/#/home
  5. Who is the ISSRT? Illinois State Society of Radiologic Technologists. Retrieved from http://members.issrt.org/page-748669
  6. JRCERT program effectiveness data. op. cit 
  7. Ibid
  8. Student FAQs. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Retrieved from https://www.jrcert.org/students/student-faqs/#javelin_faq1149_276  
  9. College Navigator – Carl Sandburg College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=1&id=143613 
  10. College Navigator – City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=1&id=144218 
  11. College Navigator – John Wood Community College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=1&id=146278 
  12. College Navigator – Joliet Junior College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from  https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=1&id=146296 
  13. College Navigator – Kankakee Community College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&id=146348 
  14. College Navigator – Lewis University. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=2&id=146612 
  15. College Navigator – National University of Health Sciences. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=2&id=147590 
  16. College Navigator – North Central College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=2&id=147660 
  17. College Navigator – Oakton Community College. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=2&id=147800 
  18. College Navigator – Rasmussen College-Illinois. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IL&p=51.0907+26.0209+51.0916+51.0911+51.0814&l=91+92+93+94&pg=2&id=448673 
  19. Student FAQs. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Retrieved from https://www.jrcert.org/students/student-faqs/#javelin_faq1149_276
  20. Radiographers – Licensing / Certification. Illinois WorkNet Center. Retrieved from https://apps.il-work-net.com/cis/clusters/OccupationDetails/100129?parentId=110800&section=license&sectionTitle=Licensing%20%2F%20Certification#:~:text=Most%20states%20require%20radiologic%20technologists%20to%20be%20licensed.&text=In%20Illinois%2C%20radiologic%20technologists%20must,Agency’s%20Division%20of%20Nuclear%20Safety
  21. Who We Are FAQ. American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Retrieved from https://www.asrt.org/main/about-asrt/mission-vision/who-we-are-faq
  22. 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 
  23. Occupational Employment Statistics Query System. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Op cit
  24. May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Illinois. Occupational Employment Statistics. National Center for Education Statistics. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_il.htm  

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