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Jackson State Community College's Radiologic Technology students achieve 100% pass rate on national certification exam

JSCC Radiologic Technology students practice X-ray techniques in the college's radiology lab

Students in Jackson State’s Radiologic Technology Program achieved a 100 percent pass rate in the most recent semester, a testament to the program’s longevity and success.

Each of the 21 students who finished the program in August passed the national certification exam on his or her first attempt. The program has produced a 100 percent pass rate on first attempt in six of the last eight years.

“We strive for 100 percent every year,” said Kim Benson, program director and associate professor of radiography. “It says to a prospective student that the program is doing what it is designed to do. It is teaching you the skills you need to become an entry-level radiographer.”

Success can be attributed to the program’s faculty, hospital affiliations, and the instructors and technologists who work beside students for more than 1,700 of their required clinical hours.

Students also work hard to pass the certification exam on the first attempt so they can begin their careers.

“The students realize this is their chosen profession and therefore they work diligently to succeed,” Benson said.

When Jackson State’s Radiologic Technology Program began in 1969, it was the first college-based associate degree radiography program in Tennessee and only the third in the United States. It was formed to meet a growing need of X-ray technologists to serve West Tennessee. At the time, most people in the profession worked in larger cities.

The program has consistently produced competent graduates who remain in the area as part of the healthcare workforce. And last year, students moved into the new Jim and Janet Ayers Center for Health Sciences, which has new equipment with the latest technology that mirrors what students will use in the workplace.

The program received the most advanced X-ray equipment of any educational system in Tennessee, Benson said. Besides a first-generation digital X-ray unit that students had been using, the lab now has a second-generation digital X-ray unit, as well as two mobile X-ray units. The equipment is the same, if not more advanced, than what students will encounter in a clinical setting.

“It has made a world of difference,” Benson said. “They’re going to be well prepared in the workforce because of the equipment we have here.”

The success of radiography students at Jackson State is not uncommon in other programs. In 2017, every student who graduated from the school’s nursing program passed the National Council Licensure Examination on his or her first attempt. The achievement earned praise from the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

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Jackson State Community College provides accessible learning opportunities that enhance the lives of individuals, strengthen the workforce and empower the diverse communities of West Tennessee. The institution offers traditional and contemporary associate degrees, certificates, continuing education and enrichment, and college-readiness programs.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 100,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.