During high school at a small high school in Oklahoma with 30 classmates, April Davison wanted to be a teacher. She spent her first years of college pursuing that goal. But just as she was completing pre-requisite courses and declaring a major; her sister almost died in a car accident. The aftermath changed her career path.
“My sister was hospitalized and in rehabilitation for a year. During that time, I spent a lot of time there with her watching x-rays and testing happen. I became fascinated with the medical process and re-evaluated my future,” April said.
Metro Tech’s Radiologic Technology Program came highly recommended as April did research. The program was lockstep and already full, so she enrolled in classes at a local community college to increase her admission points while waiting for the next application date. She applied the second year and made the alternate list, but was never called because the program was full of quality applicants.
“I knew the program was competitive and it could take awhile, but I wasn’t giving up. I kept in touch with one of the Radiologic Technology teachers, and she encouraged me to keep taking classes that would increase my score. I practiced patience and perseverance,” she said.
By her third time to apply, she had earned an associate's degree and was accepted to the program. She admits there were challenges early in the program.
“At first, I didn’t do well with patient role- playing with my classmates because I was so shy. It made me uncomfortable to speak in front of people or to people I didn’t know,” April said. Radiologic Technology Teacher Ms. Laws coached April through the importance of communication, teaching her that when positioning patients for x-rays it’s important to speak up so they are aware of everything the technician is doing. With her teacher’s encouragement to be assertive, April’s fear subsided. April described the program as “tough and time-consuming, but entirely worth the reward and pay.”
Today, 29-year-old April has been employed at a local hospital for almost four years as a rad tech; and she is also the rad tech student coordinator who oversees clinical rotations and mentors students.
“It’s funny how life works out. I love my job, and fill the desire I’ve always had to be a teacher. I get to interact with my Metro Tech teachers when they have students here, and Mr. Patterson comments that the joy I get from helping students is obvious to everyone. I like that students look forward to coming here to work with me,” she said.
The average starting salary for a rad tech in Oklahoma is $40,000 per year. Opportunities for professional growth and salary increase include obtaining a bachelor's degree to move into management and/or earning additional certifications.