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Published: Thursday, 2/20/2014

Owens seeks accreditation for new MRI program, could be first such in the state

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
First class of Owen's magnetic resonance imaging program. First class of Owen's magnetic resonance imaging program.
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Owens Community College next week is to seek accreditation for a magnetic resonance imaging program, which, if granted, would make the school the first in the state to offer an associate's degree for such an accredited program.

Catherine Ford, director and academic chair for the Owens program, will have to wait until spring 2015 to learn whether the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiology Technology decides to approve the accreditation. The program will graduate its first class in May, 2015.

"I'm extremely confident we'll be fully accredited," Ms. Ford said. 

The review committee is the only agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to issue accreditation for magnetic resonance.

Next year, the review committee will visit Owens to interview students, visit the facilities, and give a peer review. According to the committee, there are no accredited associate's degree magnetic resonance programs in Ohio and only a few bachelor's degree programs for it throughout the United States.

Owens started the program with eight students in June. The Perrysburg Township college began its MRI simulator lab in November, giving the students some hands-on experience.

Upon graduation, students will still need to pass an MRI Technologist Certification Exam before entering the work force. Receiving a bachelor's degree at a four-year college would mean students are required to be educated in more imaging than just magnetic resonance. 

The current eight students in the program are learning about the magnet, how the imagining works, patient treatment, and about the MRI lab.

"I didn't know how powerful the magnet is," student James Choi said. "Learning about the physics of the machine is the real technical part."

He said one reason the first year program stood out was the $50,000 starting wages at clinics. He enjoys the one-on-one work with only eight students.

This summer, the students will start spending 32 hours at clinics working with MRI technicians in real-life situations. They will still have one day a week in the Owens classrooms.

"I'm very excited, I can't wait to see real images of an actual patient," student Katie Holtgrieve said. "I'm excited, but nervous."

After several MRI tests on herself, Ms. Holtgrieve was "fascinated" by MRIs and "jumped on" the program once she heard about it.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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