Best Radiology Schools in West VirginiaThe Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is the only government-recognized accreditation organization for learning programs in radiography, magnetic resonance, medical dosimetry, and radiation therapy. JRCERT judges an academic program’s performance through its program completion rate, exam pass rate, and job placement rate. The program completion rate analyzes the number of students who graduated from the program within 150% of the stated program duration(1). The exam pass rate evaluates the number of students who pass the national licensure examination on their first attempt(2). The national licensure examination is by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). The job placement rate assesses the number of students currently employed in radiologic technology and related disciplines against the number of students actively seeking employment(3). JRCERT yearly releases the results of each school’s program effectiveness. The list of accredited radiography schools is accessible via www.jrcert.org.
|Colleges||Program Name||Degree Level||Duration||Program Effectiveness(4)*||Annual Tuition and other Fees(5)**|
|Program Completion Rate||Exam Pass Rate||Job Placement Rate|
|Bluefield State College in Bluefield||Radiography||Associate of Science||22 months||78.57%||89.46%||100%||Resident: $7,050 Non-Resident: $14,016|
|Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Mount Gay||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||22 months||71.40%||96.20%||100%||Resident: $2,904 Non-Resident: $4,344|
|St. Mary’s Medical Center School for Medical Imaging in Huntington||Radiography||Certificate||36 months||93%||90%||100%||$7,560|
|United Hospital Center in Bridgeport||Radiography||Certificate||24 months||93%||100%||100%||$3,000|
|University of Charleston in Charleston||Radiography||Bachelor of Science||36 to 45 months||77%||96.50%||100%||$23,000|
|University of Charleston in Beckley||Radiography||Associate of Science||17 months||41.60%||0%||100%||$13,650|
|West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling||Radiography||Associate of Applied Science||21 months||78%||76%||88%||$3,750|
|West Virginia University Hospitals in Morgantown||Radiography||Certificate||23 months||89%||96%||100%||$3,000|
|West Virginia University Hospitals in Morgantown||Radiation Therapy||Certificate||12 months||100%||100%||100%||$3,000|
|West Virginia University Hospitals in Morgantown||Magnetic Resonance||Certificate||12 months||100%||95%||100%||$4,000|
*Data retrieved on Sept. 14, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
**Data retrieved on Sept. 14, 2020. Changes may occur when new information comes in.
Bluefield State CollegeBluefield State College (BSC) aims to provide the local West Virginia health care community with competent, highly-skilled, and professional radiologic technologists. The school’s two-year degree program emphasizes structured clinical training, which gives students hands-on experience in imaging science and direct patient care and contact. Graduates receive an associate’s degree. BSC accepts only one class per year. Aspiring students must pass the Assessment Technologies Institute’s Test of Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS) and other admission requirements.
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical CollegeThe Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College strives to provide aspiring rad techs with high-quality, accessible, and student-friendly educational opportunities and services. The college’s radiologic technology program provides students with an avenue to become radiographers competent in safety procedures. Students must exhibit critical thinking, excellent communication skills, and a professional work attitude to excel in the program.
St. Mary’s Medical Center School for Medical ImagingSt. Mary’s Medical Center School for Medical Imaging (SOMI), in partnership with Marshall University, offers a certificate program on radiologic technology. SOMI provides students with clinical experience in St. Mary’s and other accredited sites. They should complete 124 credit hours of clinical training under the strict supervision of clinical instructors and staff radiographers.
United Hospital CenterUnited Hospital Center (UHC) offers a certificate program on radiologic technology. The program runs for two years and involves coursework on the principles of radiography, human anatomy and physiology, radiation safety, and patient care. UHC also partners with other academic institutions, such as Pierrepoint Community and Technical College (PCTC), and allows PCTC students to complete their didactic and clinical training.
University of CharlestonThe University of Charleston (UC) in Beckley provides aspiring radiographers opportunities to earn an associate degree in radiologic technology. The program equips students with technical expertise and essential skills to be successful in the field. Meanwhile, UC’s main branch in Charleston offers a bachelor’s degree in radiologic science. The program, which runs up to four years, allows students to pursue one or more radiologic specializations, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), cardiovascular sonography, and mammography. Various financial aid programs help UC students afford quality education. The university offers scholarships, loans, state grants for West Virginia residents, and work-study options. UC students also qualify for federal grant programs.
West Virginia Northern Community CollegeThe West Virginia Northern Community College’s (WVNCC) radiography program is designed to prepare students to become entry-level radiologic technologists. Graduates from the program of study are eligible to take the ARRT’s national registry examination (NRE). Aspiring students should complete a college application before applying to the Health Science department. To qualify, applicants must submit their high school diploma or its equivalent. Admission also requires a general point average (GPA) of 2.75, from combined credits from any outside institution and all courses from WVNCC.
West Virginia University HospitalsThe West Virginia University Hospitals (WVU) is one of the best schools for aspiring radiologic technologists and technicians. The university offers a wide range of certificate courses in radiologic technology, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, diagnostic medical sonography, and MRI. The rad tech program is affiliated with the Pierpont Community and Technical College, allowing PCTC students to earn an associate’s degree. Program graduates may take ARRT’s licensure exam, pending the organization’s review and approval. WVU’s nuclear medicine program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT). The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited the university’s diagnostic medical sonography program in partnership with the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRCDMS). Other notable West Virginia schools that offer radiologic technology programs include BridgeValley Community and Technical College and Mountwest Community and Technical College. However, these schools are not yet credited by any of the country’s leading accreditation institutions as of September 2020.
Radiology Program vs Radiography ProgramRadiologists and radiologic technologists work within the same team of healthcare professionals that use radiographic and digital technologies to produce medical images. Both have different yet interrelated responsibilities. Radiography programs focus on training future radiologic technologists to operate diagnostic imaging equipment and produce clear and accurate medical images. Technologists and technicians may spend two to four years to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. On the other hand, radiology programs allow licensed medical doctors (MD) to train in diagnosing and treating patients’ medical conditions through radiographic or digital images. Radiologists spend approximately 15 years in academic and clinical training.
AccreditationAccreditation is integral in ensuring the quality of academic institutions, faculty, and curriculum. Studying in an accredited school for radiography might equip students better in taking the National Registry Exam. JRCERT is the country’s leading accreditation institution on radiologic technology programs. It is recognized by both the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)(6). CHEA is an organization that advocates for academic self-regulation through accreditation. CAAHEP reviews and accredits educational programs on health sciences occupations. It is a recognized member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) and is recognized by the CHEA(7). Meanwhile, JRCNMT focuses on nuclear medicine technology programs(8).
West Virginia Licensure RequirementsTo practice radiologic technology and work as a radiology technician in West Virginia, one must first acquire a license. The state’s radiologic technology licensure laws are governed by the West Virginia Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Technology Board of Examiners. The board requires graduates to pass the ARRT licensure exam and pay the applicable fees to acquire a license. Licenses are renewable every two years. Meanwhile, radiologic assistants should secure their licenses from the West Virginia Board of Medicine.
Career Opportunities and SalaryRadiologic technologists, also known as X-ray technologists, often hold job titles such as X-ray technicians. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) assessed that the employment outlook for radiologic and MRI technologists’ is to grow by 7% from 2019 to 2029(9). The bureau attributed this growth to the country’s fast-aging population, which is likely to depend on medical technologies to diagnose and treat illnesses. Radiologic technology is a blanket term that encompasses individuals who work with different imaging technologies. One of its subcategories is “radiography,” which includes X-ray technicians. In a 2019 survey, the American Society of RadiologicTechnologists (ASRT) pegged the average annual salary for radiologic technologists at $69,266, while X-ray technicians earn an estimated average of $57,865 across all states(10). The survey results are arranged per discipline and sorted by state. The values for X-ray technicians below were derived from the report’s “Radiography” column. According to ASRT’s report, the mean radiology tech income in the state of West Virginia is $59,889(11). X-ray technicians may receive an average of $54,830 per year in West Virginia(12).
ConclusionRadiologic science programs may range from a certificate program to a bachelor’s degree program, which typically takes 22 to 24 months. Graduates may apply for a full license from the ARRT and the state of their chosen employment. Licenses are valid for two years. Technologists must pursue continuing education, training, and other certifications to qualify for license renewal.
- “Program Effectiveness Data.” Joint Review on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://www.jrcert.org/resources/program-effectiveness-data/.
- “Accredited Educational Programs.” Program Effectiveness Data. Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed September 10, 2020. https://portal.jrcertaccreditation.org/accredited-educational-programs/search.
- “US Department of Education Recognition.” Joint Review on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed September 10, 2020. https://www.jrcert.org/resources/us-department-of-education-recognition/; “CHEA Recognition.” Joint Review on Education in Radiologic Technology. Accessed September 10, 2020. https://www.jrcert.org/resources/council-for-higher-education-accreditation-recognition/.
- “Commission on Accreditation.” CAAHEP. Accessed September 10, 2020. https://www.caahep.org/.
- “JRCNMT Mission, Vision & Values.” JRCNMT. Accessed September 10, 2020. https://www.jrcnmt.org/about/.
- “Radiologic and MRI Technologists : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 10, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm.
- “Radiologic Technologist Wage and Salary Survey 2019.” American Society of Radiologic Technologists, 2019. Accessed September 10, 2020. http://members.issrt.org/resources/SiteUploads/20190808/radiologic-technologist-wage-and-salary-survey-2019.pdf.