Southwest Tennessee Community College

December 13, 2005

For more information, contact: Kimberly Stark (901) 333-4023 

Southwest Gets High Rating from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
Written by Brenda J. Rayner

The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists reported that Southwest received a 97 percent pass rate for the National Certification Exam, 2005. The Radiologic Technology program, under the direction of Dean Glenn Swinny admits 30 students a year and maintains a maximum of 60 students in this two-year Associate degree program. Admittance to this program is a competitive process requiring applicants to take the Medical Occupation Entrance exam and meet other pre-requisites.

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology accredits most formal training programs for the field. The committee accredited 587 radiography programs in 2003. The programs provide both classroom and clinical instruction ( Southwest's clinical instruction is held at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, Regional Medical Center, the Baptist Hospitals including Baptist, DeSoto, St. Francis Hospital, and two Campbell Orthopedic Clinics.

Radiologic technologists and technicians take x-rays and administer non-radioactive materials into patients' bloodstream for diagnostic purposes. Some specialize in diagnostic imaging technologies, such as computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

According to Penny Mayes, a Southwest radiologic technology instructor, placement for the program is 100 percent due to the nation wide shortage of technologists. The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the employment of radiologic technologists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012.

 There are, Mayes indicated, many areas in radiology clinics graduates can work in. Students who elect to work in the mainstream of a large hospital have shift differentials and a greater opportunity to move into the administrative end. "We have people who work in sub specialties such as pediatrics. Those working at the VA tend to go into nuclear medicine. There has been a great need for them in the last few years. Some of the clinics have even paid hire-in bonuses. Many of the students have a chance to work as tech assistants after they have been in the program a year, until they are board certified. After which, the facilities will hire them as technologist."

The completion rate is high, though from time to time, students do leave school due to personal circumstances. Should students exit the program prior to completion, they are required to re-apply.  Mayes said, "We have pretty high admission standards. Our students are required to take a national board exam and we have to follow strict guidelines to allow them to re-enter.  We make every effort to graduate all students and make successful everyone we enroll because of the great need for technologists."

The U.S. Department of Labor "Job Outlook"  reported  that median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of radiologic technologists and technicians in 2002 were as follows:

Medical and diagnostic laboratories               $42,470
General medical and surgical hospitals          $39,580
Offices of physicians                                    $36,490