Portland Community College's Medical Imaging Department has its X-ray vision set on the future.
The department, which trains students for the in-demand industry, graduated 14 students this spring — 10 of them already employed.
"This August, we will graduate another 32 radiography students, with many of them already having secured positions with the clinics where they have been training," said Patti Winters, director of the imaging department. "The job outlook remains very promising in the medical imaging professions."
The U.S. Department of Labor reports overall employment of radiologic and MRI technologists was projected to grow 13% from 2016 to 2026 — faster than the average healthcare occupation.
"I wanted to help people, and I knew this was the most direct and rewarding field," said PCC student Jonah Scott, 30, who got interested in the profession thanks initially to his love of photography. Scott currently works as a temporary employee with OHSU Tuality Healthcare in downtown Hillsboro.
A California native, Scott possesses a special interest in the field. He cared for his mother while she underwent cancer treatments. Then, after prompting from friends, he moved to Oregon.
"Moving up here got me out of a position where I was going nowhere," Scott said. "It allowed me to get my feet under me and start a new life."
Scott currently works two days a week providing X-ray services in the emergency room at Tuality Community Hospital, 335 S.E. Eighth Ave. in Hillsboro, while also taking rigorous courses on PCC's Sylvania campus and completing his clinical work.
"Jonah truly showed determination throughout his time here, and approached every obstacle with a balanced and positive attitude that will surely serve him well in his future," said PCC instructor Abbie Berman.
The busy student, who also represents his class with the Oregon Society of Radiologic Technologists, is working toward his associate applied science degree in addition to certifications.
"The coolest part of the PCC program is the work," Scott said. "At the clinic, you are part of the trauma or ER teams and take X-rays. I'm in surgeries quite a bit and have to be scrubbed up. All of that is exciting because we are saving lives and solving problems. It feels good."
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