Technologist educators could do more to get students active in professional orgs

Students training to become radiologic technologists in the U.S. could and probably should join at least one professional society, organization or association at the state or national level in order to optimize their access to up-to-date learning resources and opportunities. However, many accredited rad-tech education programs either don’t mandate such participation or give it sufficient financial support, according to survey results running in the Sept.-Oct. edition of Radiologic Technology.

Kimberly Michael, MA, RT, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and colleagues emailed the survey to 616 directors of programs accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).

The researchers received a total of 219 responses (36 percent).

Fewer than half (89 program directors, or 41 percent of respondents) said their programs require students to join a professional organization.

Among the programs requiring such membership, most (70 percent) mandate participation in a radiography society at the state level.

The authors further report that, of programs requiring student membership in professional societies, around half send students to a state or national society annual conference.

However, participation in activities at the conferences and in the society throughout the year is lower than conference attendance, the researchers found.

Some responding directors said their institutional policies prohibit membership mandates, but students are encouraged to join a professional group, “primarily so that they can access webinars and other educational materials or information related to the profession,” the authors write.

Most JRCERT-accredited radiography programs support but do not require student membership in professional organizations, Michael et al. conclude.

“The data reveal that more programs have added those requirements in recent years,” the authors add. “Increased student participation could be realized if programs mandated membership and supported it financially.”