NEWARK, Ohio, November 8, 2019 – When she decided to apply for Central Ohio Technical College's (COTC) radiologic science technology associate degree program, Sonya Hartsell had years' worth of office jobs under her belt.
She had obtained a medical billing and coding certification and plenty of experience in a professional environment, but Hartsell still felt like something was missing.
"I needed something more; I didn't feel I was getting anywhere," Hartsell says.
A mother of two and resident of Pataskala at the time, Hartsell was familiar with COTC. She had always been interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, so she began researching COTC's radiologic science technology program and submitted an application.
Her acceptance into the program was the start of a fresh career trajectory that led Hartsell to the fulfilling position she now holds at Clinton Memorial Hospital in Wilmington, Ohio.
"I don't think I could have gone anywhere else and gotten a better education," Hartsell says.
Though Hartsell felt some initial intimidation about being an "older" student, she soon found she fit right in. Between the diverse group of classmates and professors who took a professional and personal interest in Hartsell's education, she felt strongly supported from the beginning to end of the five-semester program.
Despite a series of challenging life circumstances that forced Hartsell to take time off from her education, she re-enrolled and obtained her degree and professional certification in 2017. Hartsell credits her caring professors for seeing her through to the end.
"I was blessed to have them because they were there for me, not only for my education but for anything I needed to talk to them about," she said.
When it came time to take the national certification exam, Hartsell felt more than ready.
"I feel like we were not only prepared for it, but I almost feel like we were over-prepared. We were going in very confident that we knew everything we needed to know in order to pass this test," she says.
It felt like a win-win: Even before she took the exam, Hartsell says, prospective employers were interested in hiring her. Not surprising, since COTC's five-year average job placement rate for radiologic science technology graduates is 100%.
"They know what kind of employee they're going to have because they went to COTC," she says.
The month after she took her test, Hartsell began working as a radiological technologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Upon relocating to Wilmington a year later, Hartsell got a job at Clinton Memorial Hospital, where she enjoys the diversity and challenges of working in the field of radiology.
Her favorite part?
"Working with people," she says. "I've always wanted to help people in some way."
Thanks to COTC, she's found the fulfillment she was looking for – and she's happy to point others in the right direction.
"If it's something you're thinking about doing, just do it," she advises prospective students. "It's never too late to move forward and do something you're going to enjoy."
COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.