Top Radiologic Technology Schools in Illinois

Are you seeking accredited radiologic technology schools in Illinois? Our guide cuts through the clutter to help you understand your options for certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. We highlight top schools, their accreditation status, and the hands-on training they offer to equip you for a successful career in this dynamic field.

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Exploring Radiologic Technology Programs in Illinois

The Prairie State boasts a rich selection of radiology programs, with 37 not-for-profit colleges and universities offering diverse degree options in radiologic technology. From vascular interventional radiography to computed tomography and sonography, aspiring radiologic technologists are spoilt for choice. These institutions provide a range of programs, including:

  • 17 certificate programs
  • 27 associate’s degree programs
  • 10 bachelor’s degree programs
  • 2 master’s or advanced degree programs in radiologic science.

Whether you’re seeking an Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Imaging Radiography or a Bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science, you’re covered. The School of Radiography at Northwestern Medicine, for instance, offers a 21-month program with intensive hands-on clinical experiences and specialized instruction, aiming to equip students with advanced technological and diagnostic skills. Graduates of these programs are well-prepared to provide compassionate, quality patient care and become effective members of the health care team.

Joliet Junior College

Located in the heart of Joliet, Joliet Junior College offers a full-time, two-year Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Radiologic Technology. The curriculum is comprehensive and covers vital areas such as:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical terminology
  • The healthcare environment
  • Radiographic procedures
  • Positioning
  • Physics
  • Patient care

However, getting into the Radiologic Technology Program at Joliet Junior College requires meeting special admission criteria. The college accepts program applications only from November 1 to November 30 each year. Thus, prospective students must plan their admission process wisely to secure a seat in this coveted program.

Kankakee Community College

Another notable institution in the Illinois landscape of radiologic technology education is Kankakee Community College, along with Chicago Wilbur Wright College. This college offers an Associate’s degree in radiologic technology or radiologic science, providing a robust foundation for aspiring radiologic technologists.

North Central College

Situated in Naperville, North Central College offers a Radiologic Technology program that stands out due to its hybrid delivery system. The program combines online lectures with on-campus hands-on practice, providing a balanced and flexible learning experience. The curriculum includes courses in:

  • Radiographic Procedures
  • Patient Care
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Radiation Biology
  • Radiographic Exposure
  • Pathology
  • Special Procedures
  • Digital Imaging
  • Image Analysis

In addition to theoretical knowledge in health sciences, students gain practical clinical experience through clinical education at affiliated hospitals. This includes rotations involving trauma experience during evening hours. The program also exposes students to short rotations in various specializations including:

  • CT
  • MRI
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Ultrasound
  • Radiation Oncology

This comprehensive approach ensures that students are well-rounded and prepared for the diverse demands of their future roles.

Accreditation and Licensing Requirements

Accreditation and licensing are vital aspects to consider when pursuing a career as a radiologic technologist in Illinois. The state boasts 7 schools with medical imaging programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and one school with a program accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT). Graduating from a JRCERT-accredited program ensures eligibility to practice in all 50 states and enhances job prospects upon graduation.

Becoming a radiologic technologist in Illinois involves the following steps:

  1. Obtain a college education that meets ARRT and state licensing requirements, typically necessitating at least an associate degree.
  2. Obtain a state license, which must be renewed every two years.
  3. Pass the state certification exam or ARRT certification exam.
  4. Fulfill continuing education requirements of 6-12 hours every 12 months.

Joint Review Committee (JRCERT)

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) plays a pivotal role in the accreditation of medical imaging programs in Illinois. As of now, 24 schools in Illinois boast medical imaging programs accredited by JRCERT. The JRCERT is the only agency recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for the accreditation of:

  • radiography
  • radiation therapy
  • magnetic resonance
  • medical dosimetry programs.

JRCERT accreditation ensures that programs meet national standards and provide students with the necessary competencies for safe radiation delivery. Accredited programs like those recognized by the JRCERT are subject to regular reviews to maintain high educational standards, which is crucial for ensuring graduates’ eligibility for licensure and job opportunities.

Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA)

The licensing process for radiologic technologists in Illinois is overseen by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). Here are the steps involved:

  1. Submit an exam application along with the associated fee.
  2. Schedule the computer-based test at your convenience.
  3. Successfully pass the exam.
  4. Complete a certification application and pay a fee to IEMA.
  5. Obtain your radiologic technologist license.

The application process is fairly straightforward, allowing applicants to submit their applications for both exam and certification via fax or email to IEMA. After the application and payment have been processed and reviewed, the official license card is mailed out and should arrive within three weeks.

Specialized Training and Certificates

For those seeking to master a specialized area within the field, Illinois offers certificate programs in radiography, magnetic resonance, and radiation therapy. An associate’s degree from a radiography program typically serves as a prerequisite to pursuing these specialized degrees. The Radiation Therapy Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, for instance, includes coursework in administering therapeutic radiation, and hands-on labs, alongside clinical experience, and is recognized by the ARRT.

South Suburban College

South Suburban College offers a unique opportunity for registered radiologic technologists seeking to extend their proficiency in computed tomography (CT). The Computed Tomography (CT) Certificate Program encompasses classroom instruction, lab exercises, and clinical experiences, requiring students to complete a minimum of 16 credit hours.

The college also offers a Mammography Certificate Program that covers topics such as:

  • breast anatomy
  • pathology
  • positioning
  • advanced imaging techniques

Completing this program equips students with the essential skills to take the ARRT Mammography Certification Examination.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

At Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a national university, the Nuclear Medicine Technology Program integrates interdisciplinary coursework incorporating:

  • radiation safety
  • radiopharmaceuticals
  • imaging techniques
  • computer applications

This program imparts a comprehensive understanding of both theoretical and hands-on aspects of nuclear medicine, including specialized procedures such as PET and SPECT.

Both the Nuclear Medicine Technology and the Radiation Therapy Programs at the university offer robust clinical education. The Radiation Therapy Program provides clinical rotations at affiliated healthcare facilities for practical experience. Graduates are well-prepared to take the national certification exams from the NMTCB and the ARRT, leading to various career opportunities in the field.

Career Prospects and Salaries for Radiologic Technologists in Illinois

As a radiologic technologist in Illinois, you are stepping into a field with promising career prospects. The employment projections from 2021 to 2031 indicate a 6% growth in the field. Salaries for radiologic technologists in Illinois are attractive, with an average hourly wage of $29.81.

Labor Statistics

The average annual salary for radiologic technologists in Illinois is approximately $72,130 as of May 2022. However, salaries can vary based on factors such as education level, employer, and specific job titles. Outpatient care centres, for instance, offer relatively higher wages for radiologic technologists and technicians, with an annual mean wage of about $81,530.

The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI metropolitan area, in particular, employs around 5,500 radiologic technologists and technicians, highlighting the high demand for these professionals in the region.

Industry Demand and Job Opportunities

Radiologic technologists in Illinois are primarily employed in hospitals and diagnostic imaging centres. Major healthcare centres that employ radiologic technologists include Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, University of Chicago Medical Center, Advocate Christ Medical Center, North Shore Evanston Hospital, Carle Foundation Hospital, and Loyola University Medical Center.

General medical and surgical hospitals are the top employers of radiologic technologists, followed by offices of physicians and medical and diagnostic laboratories. Graduates from programs such as the one at Joliet Junior College are equipped to work in diverse settings like hospitals, doctors’ offices, and imaging centres, where they focus on imaging procedures and patient care.

Summary

In conclusion, Illinois offers a diverse range of radiologic technology programs, providing aspiring radiologic technologists with numerous educational pathways. With the right education, accreditation, and hands-on experience, you can embark on a rewarding career in this dynamic field. The journey to becoming a skilled radiologic technologist is undeniably challenging, but with the right guidance and determination, the rewards are radiant!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average annual salary for radiologic technologists in Illinois?

The average annual salary for radiologic technologists in Illinois is around $72,130 as of May 2022.

Are there specialized training programs for radiologic technologists in Illinois?

Yes, Illinois offers specialized training programs in radiography, magnetic resonance, and radiation therapy for radiologic technologists. These programs provide certificate training.

What are the employment projections for radiologic technologists in Illinois?

The employment projections for radiologic technologists in Illinois indicate a 6% growth from 2021 to 2031.

What is the role of the Joint Review Committee (JRCERT)?

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is responsible for accrediting radiologic technology programs, allowing graduates to be eligible for licensure in all 50 states.

How can a program coordinator assist prospective students?

A program coordinator can assist prospective students by providing essential information about the program and offering guidance on meeting prerequisites and other admission criteria. This can help students improve their admission status and make informed decisions about their education.