Iowa Radiology Tech Careers and Degrees

Receiving your Radiologic Technologist Training in Iowa

In Iowa, an aspiring radiologic technologist must complete a formal training program that can take from six months to two years. Depending on the program, you may earn a certificate, an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, although associate degree programs are the most common for radiologic technologists. State law requires that as of January, 2015, candidates must complete at least an associate degree or higher. Radiologic technologist programs must be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JCERT). Training programs include coursework, lab studies and clinical rotations at various medical facilities in the area.

You will learn about medical terminology, human anatomy, physiology, venipuncture and imaging. The clinical portion will provide you with hands-on training performing radiographic procedures, such as magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, ultrasound, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine. Successful completion of the program prepares you to take and pass a certification exam through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Iowa currently has about a dozen radiology technician programs that are ARRT-accredited. Although this varies by school, most radiologic technology programs have specific admission requirements that must be met before you can be accepted into the program.

Radiology Technician Licensing in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Public Health requires that individuals be licensed before they can work as radiologist technicians. To obtain licensure as a radiology tech, candidates must pass the accredited program, including all educational and clinical requirements and pass a certification exam. In addition to completing theory-based courses and lab courses, a radiology tech student must complete a designated number of hours of clinical training. The ARRT requires that you prove competency in 39 mandatory radiological procedures; of this number, 30 must be on patients and 10 may be simulations or on phantoms. You must also complete four general patient care competencies.

An individual may be a full radiologic technologist or a limited radiologic technologist. A full radiologic technologist performs radiography on all parts of the body, while a limited radiologic technologist can only perform radiography on the chest, spine, extremities, shoulder or pediatrics, excluding CT and fluoroscopy. To maintain Iowa licensure as a radiologist technician, the individual must complete 24 hours of continuing education within the biennium indicated on his or her permit.

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Career Outlook for Radiology Tech Jobs in Iowa

As a radiologic technician, you can expect excellent career opportunities. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of radiology techs is expected to grow 28% between 2010 and 2020. This faster-than-average growth is attributed largely to the increasing aging population who continue to have more medical conditions requiring radiologic procedures. In a study regarding the radiology technician salary, the BLS reported that the mean annual wage for radiologic technologists was $56,450 as of May 2012. The mean annual wage for a radiology technologist in Iowa during that time was $46,750. During 2012, there were approximately 2,380 radiology technologists employed in Iowa. This information also came from the BLS.

While hospitals remain the main employer of radiologic technicians, more opportunities are being available at imaging centers, physicians’ offices, clinics and outpatient care centers. The radiology technologist who obtains certification in multiple areas of radiology may have the best career opportunities. Individuals may also advance to become diagnostic medical sonographers. Once they have their degree in radiologic technology, they may receive on-the-job training in sonography. Sonography offers various areas of specialties, as well as multiple certifications. Another career advancement may be a nuclear medicine technologist. Graduates of a radiologic technology degree program may complete a certificate in nuclear medicine technology in 12 months.