Northern Essex Rad Tech Students All Pass License Exams on First Try Despite Challenges

Graduating Northern Essex Community College’s Radiologic Technology students. (Courtesy photograph.)

Every one of Northern Essex Community College’s Radiologic Technology students passed their national licensure exam on the first try this year.

The college notes it would be “an incredible accomplishment” in any year, but “It’s especially impressive this year, when the pandemic presented countless challenges—inside and outside of the classroom. Students were in their second of five semesters when classes shifted to all online, and hands-on clinical training was put on pause. Graduate Yesenia Rivera of Lawrence, for example, expressed the challenges she faced.

“(Professors) Pat Willett and Angela Bowers really understood that I wasn’t just a student. I had more going on at home than just studying, trying to be a mom/wife/student was hard, but COVID-19 made it that much more difficult,” she said. After graduation, though, Rivera said she went right to work as an outpatient radiology technologist at Mass General Hospital.

Professor Pat Willett says, in previous years, the college’s pass rate on the certification exam by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists has been in the low-to mid-90 percentile which surpasses the national average. All 2021 graduates have also found employment as certified and licensed radiologic technologists.

Kelsey Corbett of Stoneham is another graduate who is now working at Holy Family Hospital, where she did her second clinical practicum. She said she is “quite honestly not surprised at all about our 100% passing rate on the board’s exam.”

A new class of 15 students begin their Radiologic Technology associate degree this fall.

Northern Essex’s accredited program covers all aspects of radiologic care, including safety procedures, proper patient positioning and understanding the technology used to create diagnostic images. Graduates are prepared for entry-level technologist careers using a variety of x-ray equipment in settings such as hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. The college also has transfer agreements with many colleges and universities for students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

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