Your problem is not a National Code issue, it is local. (I won't go into the whole union/Democrat construction control thing for Chicagoland...) Running on the ceiling is an option of you have room for the conduit radius between the structural ceiling and a lower framed ceiling. I believe EMT is acceptable vs. RMC. You're likely going to have to cut 3' pieces and use a lot of couplings, there are some trade methods that could eliminate a few couplings, but if you are not familiar with these ways it will take more time to learn that to just cut it. Not really any simple way, you can leave some studs out during framing, drill holes for straight pipe in studs adjacent to where the pipe needs to be, then slide the pipe into the studs after install. But I am an electrician, and I would be cutting a bunch of pieces trying to use the joist space and dropping vertical whenever I could. One unfortunate effect of this law is spaces get wired to the minimum requirement, and this encourages the overuse of extension cords.