By Anna Hall l The Brunswick News
College of Coastal Georgia is helping students in a popular program earn their degrees even faster.Beginning in the fall 2016 semester, students working to earn an associate's degree in radiologic sciences can cut an entire semester out of their studies. It will help them find employment more easily and quickly, college officials say.
Tracy Pellett, vice president for academic affairs at the college, announced Tuesday radiology students can now opt to earn their degree in five semesters.
Condensing the six-semester, 75-credit program is an attempt to make access to the degree more readily available at the college, Pellet said.
"Streamlining the program to five semesters is the type of innovative and student-centered programming that is characteristic of the faculty and leadership within the program," Pellett said. "The approach is particularly significant as it decreases overall time-to-degree, which is a major institutional initiative."
John Eichinger, radiologic science program director noted the shortened course of study will offer a spring graduation.
"Starting classes in the fall semester and graduating in the spring creates a more traditional program allowing students a smoother transition to continuing education toward a bachelor's degree or in advanced modalities, such as computed tomography, mammography or magnetic resonance," said Eichinger, who is president of the National Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiological Sciences.
Graduates of the associate degree program are prepared for employment in hospitals, clinics, physician offices and industry. Students are taught courses in radiation physics, radiation protection, positioning and patient care, Eichinger said.
"Once employed, the registered technologist assists physicians by providing medical diagnostic imaging to patients while understanding and implementing the safest radiation practices as possible," he said.
There are 27 students in the radiology science program, though it has a capacity of 32 students, Eichinger said.
The program is affiliated with the Southeast Georgia Health System hospitals in Brunswick and Camden County. The program also has a strong relationship with Southern Orthopedics and Sports Medicine for students in clinical education.
Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah also has proven to be a hot spot for students looking for a regional radiology job opportunity, Eichinger said.
The first-attempt pass rate average currently stands at 98 percent for students who have graduated in the past five years, Eichinger said.
The program is fully accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology and has an outstanding student-to-faculty ratio.
"Coming to a four-year college such as the College of Coastal Georgia to obtain their two-year associate degree in radiologic science affords students many opportunities not always available at other facilities," Eichinger said. "This most recent change is an example of innovation designed to allow quality education and future growth for students attending (the college.)"