X-ray Tech Schools in TN

  • X-ray or radiologic technicians often work in hospitals, diagnostic imaging centers, clinics, laboratories, nursing homes, or the private sector(1). X-ray technicians create medical images that highlight specific parts of their patients’ bodies using high-tech equipment.
  • A two-year degree and a high school diploma from a JRCERT-accredited institution or university are the minimum requirements for prospective X-ray technicians(2). Individuals can also get a certificate from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
  • Depending on the program in which students enroll, radiology technicians spend between one and four years in school(3). A year is required for training and certificate programs. In contrast, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs may take two and four years to complete.

What Is an X-ray Technician?

Typically, X-ray technicians or radiologic technicians work in hospitals, diagnostic imaging facilities, clinics, laboratories, nursing homes, or the private sector(4). Most employees work 40 hours a week, with occasional weekend, evening, and on-call hours.

X-ray technicians create medical images that highlight specific parts of their patients’ bodies using high-tech equipment. They are trained healthcare personnel who can operate sophisticated imaging equipment to get the “inside” images required for doctors to view a patient’s medical condition and prescribe therapy.

List of X-ray Tech Schools

Here is the list of X-ray tech schools in Tennessee(5):

School Name Associate’s Imaging Program Bachelor’s Imaging Program Graduate Imaging Program National Accreditation Completion Rate2 Credential Exam Pass Rate2 Job Placement Rate2 Net Price1
Austin Peay State University Yes JRCERT 100% 87% 98% $13,440
Chattanooga State Community College (Chattanooga) Yes JRCERT, CAAHEP, JRCNMT 81% 100% 99% $6,821
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences (Memphis) Yes JRCERT, CAAHEP, JRCNMT 89% 87% 97% $10,088
East Tennessee State University Yes JRCERT 88% 99% 100% $14,696
Columbia State Community College (Columbia) Yes JRCERT 92% 94% 97% $6,645
Roane State Community College Yes JRCERT 90% 96% 98% $4,924
Jackson State Community College Yes JRCERT 100% 97% 98% $8,209
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Certificate Only) CAAHEP, JRCNMT N.Av.
Southwest Tennessee Community College Yes JRCERT 85% 62% 80% $4,370
Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin) Yes JRCERT, CAAHEP 90% 91% 100%

**Data retrieved on May 16, 2022. Changes may occur when new data comes in.

Other schools offering radiology programs not mentioned are the following(6): 

  • Concorde Career College-Memphis (Memphis)
  • Fortis InstituteCookeville (Cookeville)
  • Fortis InstituteNashville (Nashville)
  • South College (Knoxville)
  • Southern Adventist University (Collegedale)
  • Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis)

​​List of Programs of X-ray Technologists

Here are some of the programs of X-ray tech schools in Tennessee(7)

1. Southwest Tennessee Community College

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in the Radiologic Technology program at Southwest Tennessee Community College (STCC) is intended to produce competent, entry-level radiographers

Successful candidates for the seven-semester program begin their studies with Radiographic Procedures and Intro to Radiography in the summer. 

Students must prepare to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification test and begin entry-level radiology technician careers via a curriculum, on-campus laboratories, and clinical rotations. 

Students will start their first clinical rotation in a local hospital or facility during the first fall semester, and they will complete a clinical rotation each subsequent semester. 

During the summer program, students need to complete two clinical rotations between the first and second years of the program, each requiring 35 hours of labor per week. Therefore, prospective students must be able to devote themselves to the program full-time. 

Admission criteria include a minimum 2.5 GPA, completion of Introduction to Medical Imaging and Medical Terminology with grades of “C” or above, and an appropriate Health Occupations Aptitude Exam score (HOAE).

2. Columbia State Community College

The competitive Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in the Radiologic Technology program at Columbia State Community College (CSCC) encourages students to commit to on-campus study and clinical rotations in a nearby hospital or medical facility. 

Although the bulk of clinical rotations occurs during day shifts, students must work the night time shift for a part of each clinical rotation.  

In recent years, CSCC has reported a strong job placement rate for its graduates; some alumni receive bachelor’s degrees from four-year schools and institutions.

To be eligible for an interview, prospective candidates must have a GPA of 2.5 or better, have passed CSCC’s Introduction to Medical Imaging course with a grade of “C” or higher, and fulfill additional criteria, including college-level Human Anatomy and Physiology courses.

3. Volunteer State Community College  

Volunteer State Community College (VSCC) offers a two-year Radiologic Technology curriculum leading to an Associate of Science (AS) degree. Before enrolling to and entering the five-semester radiology technology program, which combines comprehensive radiology study with clinical rotations, students must first finish general education prerequisites, typically taking two semesters. 

Full-time schedules require students to be on campus or at a clinical rotation Monday through Friday. In addition, students will undergo a 32-hour-per-week clinical rotation between the first and second years of the school. 

The summer clinical rotation requires students to complete weekend and evening hours in addition to standard day shifts. Applicants accepted into the program are informed of their admission in July and begin the program in August.

 Each year, only 30 students are admitted to the program based on a stringent admissions procedure that evaluates, among other things, letters of reference, GPA, and success in required courses.

Admission Criteria and Prerequisites

Before students can begin their career as radiologic technicians, they must fulfill many prerequisites. With a high school diploma, students may go on to the next steps(8):

  1. Students must graduate from a recognized X-ray technology education program after completing their secondary school. When all required externships and training are included, most associate degree programs in radiologic technology need around two years to finish.
  2. Different states have different licensing laws. As a result, students may need to receive a permit to work. After receiving their licenses, students have the option of pursuing ARRT to set themselves apart from their peers in the field.
  3. The coursework may involve medical terminology, health science, anatomy and physiology, psychology, image production, and radiographic physics. Students need to participate in numerous externships and radiography procedure laboratories for practical training.

Program Goals and Learning Outcomes

Here is an example of one school’s program goals and outcomes(9):

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate the correct positioning of the patient.
  • Students will choose suitable radiographic methods.
  • Students will engage in radiation therapy protection training.

Goals

  • Students will be certified, competent radiographers at the entry-level
  • Students will demonstrate problem-solving and critical thinking abilities
  • Students will successfully communicate vocally and in writing
  • Students will establish a strategy for professional practice development and maintenance

X-ray Technician Program vs. Radiology Technologist Program

Radiologic technologists are sometimes referred to as radiographers, rad tech, and X-ray technologists. The career interest areas for “radiography degrees” can be confusing(10).

A radiologic technician is not the same as a radiologic technologist. “Technologist” knows a wide range of imaging techniques and equipment and has a thorough comprehension of the basics of diagnostic imaging. They understand how to operate the equipment and solve complex imaging issues.

In contrast to an X-ray technician, a radiologic technologist is a qualified and licensed medical professional who performs diagnostic imaging exams, such as X-rays, to assist doctors in diagnosing illness or injury.

How to Become a Radiology Technologist in Tennessee

A radiologic technologist must have a college degree and state certification(11). Aspiring radiology technologists should also;

  • Earn a high school diploma. The first step to becoming a radiologic technician is to get a high school diploma since this will prepare the students for further study. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals considering a career in radiology may benefit from studying math and science courses, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology.
  • Earn a two-year college degree. The subsequent stage is to get a bachelor’s degree, and the associate of applied science is a specific option for radiologic techs. Also, students must verify the curriculum’s accreditation of their choice. The Joint Review Committee on Education in RadiologicTechnology (JRCERT) accreditation must be part of the requirements.
  • Obtain a radiologic technologist license or certification in Tennessee. A professional license is required for radiologic technologists to practice in most jurisdictions. To learn more about Tennessee’s requirements, applicants should see the state’s website. They may also check out the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to discover more about certification.

Accreditation

Maintaining a high quality of education that generates highly competent healthcare workers requires accreditation.

Accredited radiography programs prepare and equip students for the ever-changing profession of radiologic technology.

There are three bodies responsible for accrediting radiology and health education programs in the United States(12):

  • Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT)
  • Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology or JRCERT (www.jrcert.org)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)

Chattanooga State Community College, Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center are also accredited by CAAHEP and JRCNMT.

Note that students may consider the program effectiveness in choosing accredited schools for X-ray tech. 

Expenses

Here are sample expenses on the total program cost of a two-year program in one school(13):

  • Program Application fee – $50 (payable upon application)
  • Remaining program tuition fee ($4,700/year, less $500 deposit)- $8,900 (payable on the first day of class)
  • Deposit fee to reserve a place – $500 (payable upon acceptance in the program)
  • Facility and Technology fee – $700 (payable on the first day of class)
  • Textbook or eBook fee – $1,100 (payable on the  first day of class.)

Financial Aid

Other schools do not accept grants. 

For instance, the University of Tennessee School of Radiography does not accept Title IV government-guaranteed grants(14).

The radiography school has collaborated with Meritize to provide private student loans to its students. Meritize’s website, www.meritize.com, has further information about its private student loans.

Career Opportunities and Salary

The career outlook for radiologic technologists is good(15). Approximately 96% of graduates from Tennessee‘s radiology technician programs find work within six months after graduation. 

Depending on location, facility, and shift work, a radiologic technologist’s starting salary may range from $30,000 to $36,000. Tennessee ranks 11th among the states with the most significant employment rate for this profession. 

Those who love interacting with patient care may desire to pursue careers in other radiology subspecialties, such as computed tomography, radiation treatment, ultrasound, angiography, or magnetic resonance imaging. 

Meanwhile, radiologic technologists earned an average of $51,120 per year in 2017(16). This pay is somewhat below the national average in this sector, which is $60,320 per year. 

However, it is much above the yearly income average in Tennessee. Additionally, Tennessee’s total cost of living index is much lower than the national average.

Professional Organizations

Tennessee Society of Radiologic Technicians is the premier professional association for radiologic technologists in Tennessee)(17). This organization serves as the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) state chapter. 

The TSRT hosts yearly conferences to provide its members with networking opportunities with other radiologic technology specialists.

FAQs

1. How does an individual become an X-ray tech in Tennessee?

Aspiring individuals can become X-ray technicians if they have a high school diploma and acquire a two-year college degree from a college or university accredited by the JRCERT(18)

Then, they can get a certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). 

2. How long will it take to go to school for X-ray tech?

Depending on the program in which students enroll, radiology technicians spend between one and four years in school(19). A year is required for several training and certificate programs. In contrast, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs may take two and four years to complete.

3. How much does an X-ray tech make in Tennessee?

Depending on location, facility, and shift work, the starting income for a radiologic technician might vary from $30,000 to $36,000 or more(20). Tennessee is eleventh among the states with the highest employment rate for this occupation.

4. Is there a need for a college diploma to become an X-ray tech?

Rad technologists may begin their careers with either a two-year A.A.S. degree or a four-year B.S. degree(21). However, the A.A.S. degree allows students to join the profession two years earlier than those with a B.S. degree.


  1. What Does an X-Ray Technician Do?
    https://www.fortis.edu/blog/healthcare/what-does-an-x-ray-technician-do.html
  2. Radiology Schools in Tennessee
    https://www.radiology-schools.com/radiology-schools-state/tennessee.html
  3. Becoming A Radiologic Technologist – Education, Certification & Career
    https://www.medicaltechnologyschools.com/radiologic-technologist/how-to-become-a-rad-tech
  4. What Does an X-Ray Technician Do?
    https://www.fortis.edu/blog/healthcare/what-does-an-x-ray-technician-do.html
  5. Radiology Technologist Schools and Careers in Tennessee
    https://www.radiologyschools411.com/tennessee/
  6. Ibid.
  7. Radiology Technologist Schools and Careers in Tennessee
    https://www.radiologyschools411.com/tennessee/
  8. What Is the Process of Becoming an X-Ray Technician?
    https://www.cambridgehealth.edu/blog/what-is-the-process-of-becoming-an-x-ray-technician/
  9. Program Mission
    https://www.southwest.tn.edu/radiology/mission.php
  10. What to Know About X-ray Tech Programs and Radiography Degrees
    https://www.cleveland.edu/blog-post/~post/what-to-know-about-x-ray-tech-programs-and-radiography-degrees-20180419/
  11. Radiology Schools in Tennessee
    https://www.radiology-schools.com/radiology-schools-state/tennessee.html
  12. Radiology Degrees
    https://www.radiologyschools411.com/degrees/
  13. School Of Radiography
    https://www.utmedicalcenter.org/academics-research/school-of-radiography/
  14. Ibid.
  15. Radiology Technician Schools in Tennessee
    https://www.ultrasoundtechnicianschools.com/specialty/radiology/tennessee/
  16. Education Options for Tomorrow’s Radiologic Technologists in Tennessee
    https://radiologyed.org/schools/tennessee/
  17. Ibid.
  18. Radiology Schools in Tennessee
    https://www.radiology-schools.com/radiology-schools-state/tennessee.html
  19. Becoming A Radiologic Technologist – Education, Certification & Career https://www.medicaltechnologyschools.com/radiologic-technologist/how-to-become-a-rad-tech
  20. Radiology Technician Schools in Tennessee
    https://www.ultrasoundtechnicianschools.com/specialty/radiology/tennessee/
  21. Radiologic Technologist Education Requirements: What to Know
    https://www.cleveland.edu/blog-post/~post/radiologic-technologist-education-requirements-explained-20180424/
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