California University of Pennsylvania Takes on Radiography Program

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Students study at Washington Health System facilities, earn a Cal U degree

By Christine Kindl

Future X-ray technicians have found a new collegiate identity now that California University of Pennsylvania has assumed operations of the former Washington Health System School of Radiologic Technology.

The program – now known as the California University of Pennsylvania Radiography Program at Washington Health System – continues to prepare skilled radiologic technologists for careers in the booming healthcare sector. These patient-focused healthcare professionals also are known as radiographers or X-ray technicians.

Students in the Cal U radiography program take classes and learn diagnostic imaging skills at Washington Hospital, in Washington, Pa., and gain hands-on experience at WHS facilities and other clinical locations. Those who successfully complete the two-year, 86-credit program earn an associate degree from Cal U.

Black hospital scrubs and lab coats — a nod to Cal U’s red-and-black school colors — signify their status as California University students. Ten first-year students are newly enrolled in the program, and two second-year students are completing their studies.

Accredited program

Like its predecessor, the Cal U program is accredited by JRCERT, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. It’s the only accrediting agency for radiology and related fields that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

According to JRCERT, many states require that individuals who sit for licensure examinations have graduated from an accredited program.

“Accreditation assures students that the program meets the highest educational and professional standards,” says Dr. Bruce Barnhart, Cal U’s provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs.

“After working side by side with Washington Health System for several years, we are very pleased to expand the university’s healthcare degree options by adding this well-respected radiography program.”

California University also has an educational partnership with Washington Health System’s School of Nursing that dates to 2015, and it recently began offering online coursework for students at Ohio Valley Hospital School of Nursing in Kennedy Township, Pa.

“Moving the radiography program to Cal U’s Department of Health Science has real benefits for our students,” says program director Lisa L. Finnegan. “In addition to earning a university degree, they now have access to so many resources, including Cal U’s academic support programs and advising services.”

In-demand career

Pennsylvania is among the top five states for employment in radiography and related professions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Radiography is a wonderful career choice for students who are interested in healthcare, one of Pennsylvania’s largest industries,” Finnegan adds.

“You can complete your associate degree and be ready to earn a competitive wage in just 24 months. With additional training, you can move into other diagnostic imaging modalities, such as CT or MRI. And you can choose to work in a hospital environment, an outpatient center or a surgical center, and still be involved in direct patient care.”

For more information about Cal U’s radiography program at Washington Health System, visit www.calu.edu/academics and click on “radiologic technology,” email the program director at finnegan@calu.edu, or phone 724-769-1155.