COLTON - Leia Redmond, 25, followed her dream by earning a bachelor's degree from Cal State San Bernardino in theatre arts, with an emphasis on acting.

Now she's focused on earning a living.

In a few months, she'll be finishing an intensive 23-month training program at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center's School of Radiologic Technology.

And when she gets out, she can expect to earn between $26 and $35 an hour, said Morris Hunter, the school's program director.

The program costs about $5,000 - including books.

The School of Radiologic Technology been around since the 1960s. It became affiliated with Crafton Hills College in 1985 with an arrangement that students graduating from the program also receive an associate of science degree.

To get into the program, applicants must have taken 28 general-education units and 11.5 science units, Hunter said.

Applicants can accumulate those credits at any community college, but they must take an introductory course in radiologic technology taught by Hunter only at Crafton Hills College.

In the course, students spend time at ARMC watching patients and technicians interact. Part of the reason for this course is to weed out students who don't want to work with sick or injured people.

"We had one student faint while observing an ultrasound," he said.

This year, the program will accept eight new students. The deadline for getting an application is the end of February, and the completed form must be submitted by April 1, Hunter said.

Students must present a 2.5 grade-point average or better, he said.

"Don't fail to apply if you only have B's. Some may excel in the classroom and may not do well clinical," Hunter said.

"We are looking for students who are motivated, who will work well with other students and work well with patients," Hunter said.

"They should be compassionate and want to help people," he said.

There are other radiologic technology programs in the area, but the program at ARMC is the only one based out of a hospital.

"Students start working with patients from day one," Hunter said.

Because ARMC is a trauma center and has the region's only burn unit, students see more varieties of injuries and illnesses in a week than they would in several months working somewhere else, Hunter said.

"We see it all. People with gunshot wounds, in car accidents, with burns," said student Lucinda Moreno, 37.

"We get a lot of hands-on experience and a lot of exposure to different situations," she said.

Students go through a rotation with a mobile X-ray unit where they learn how to handle patients with severe burns and other injuries, Hunter said.

Many radiologic technicians end up in specialized fields.

Kevin Kotlar, 46, chose to specialize in interventional radiology, where he assists radiologists in such procedures as repairing a weakness in an artery.


Reach Jim via email, call him at 909-386-3855, or find him on Twitter @JSteinbergsRoad.