FORT POLK, La. –
Sgt. Darrell Antonetty-Torres, radiology specialist at Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital passed the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists examination and earned his radiologic technician credentials Oct. 7 in Shreveport, Louisiana.
According to www.arrt.org the ARRT is the world’s largest organization offering credentials in medical imagining, interventional procedures, and radiation therapy. The organization certifies and registers technologists in a variety of disciplines through the oversight and administration of education, ethics, and examination requirements.
Antonetty said he and two other radiology specialists from BJACH made the decision to pursue the registry in May.
“In the civilian world as soon as you complete your degree you can challenge the registry,” he said. “For me, I was still four college courses short of my associate degree upon completion of my advanced individual training. Once I finished my associate degree I was eligible to take the exam.”
The ARRT requires registry applicants to have an associate degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university along with the successful completion of an educational program that demonstrates competencies in didactic coursework and clinical procedures.
According to their website the ARRT recognizes education through the U.S. Military in radiography and nuclear medicine offered at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC), Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Antonetty said earning his credentials and acceptance on the registry was his goal since he started AIT.
“Earning the ARRT credentials is not a requirement for me while I’m on active duty, however it is recognized by civilian hospitals,” he said. “Being listed on the registry will help me pursue a civilian career in radiology when I leave the military.”
Antonetty said he joined the Army for a sense of purpose.
“I tried a semester of college immediately after high school, but it wasn’t for me,” he said. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and it didn’t make sense to take college courses with no clearly defined goals. My dad was in Army, and I wanted to be like him, so I decided to join.”
Antonetty said the Army was an easy choice because he was familiar with it growing up as a military child.
“I didn’t have any prior experience with x-ray specifically when I decided to enlist,” he said. “But my family is either Army or medical. My mom is a phlebotomist, my step-mom is an emergency room nurse and my aunt is a pharmacist so I was knew I wanted to be in the medical field.”
Antonetty said his dad helped him decide which military occupational specialty to pursue by discussing the options with him.
Antonetty attended METC in San Antonio, Texas for the didactic portion of his training.
“I chose radiology because it seemed interesting to me,” he said. “Between basic training and AIT, I spent more than a year in school preparing for my job. During AIT, we had six months of classroom training followed by six more months of on-the-job training. I did my clinical rotation at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Fort Bliss, Texas.”
According to Lisa Braun, METC Public Affairs Officer, upon completing the program, Army Radiology Specialists only require two additional classes (oral and written communication) to earn an associate degree. The degree is not automatic and are conferred at established times throughout the year.
“We have a degree bridge program that allows students to earn college credit for their training and work experience through partnerships with civilian colleges and universities across the country,” she said. “Students can receive credit toward associate, bachelors and master’s degrees. We are also a branch campus of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences College of Allied Health."
Braun said the METC Degree Bridge Program provides a way for active duty, National Guard, and Reserve service members and veterans to successfully transition to a civilian career by earning college credit from participating schools for their military service and training without having to retake courses already completed.
Antonetty said he completed the requirements for and graduated with his associate degree in 2021.
“I didn’t try for the registry right away because I had gotten focused on military promotions, schools and other stuff,” he said. “I didn’t think I had the time to devote my full attention to the registry until now. As my priorities, shifted I knew it was time to get serious about the registry.”
Antonetty said he took the test on October 7.
“I rescheduled three times, because I wasn’t quite ready and I wanted to be fully prepared for the exam,” he said. “We have three opportunities to take and pass the registry examination, but I wanted to pass it the first time.”
Antonetty said he likes being an x-ray tech.
“I plan to reenlist, I perform x-rays and CT (computerized tomography) scans. After I reenlist, I plan to challenge the registry again for CT,” he said. “The registry is important, but I think I probably have more hands-on experience than most people who already have their credentials. I have five years of x-ray experience in addition to the certification.”
Dawn Carter, imaging supervisor for the BJACH Radiology Department said it has been more than five years since the last military radiology specialist in her department successfully challenged the ARRT.
“Passing this registry is important because now Sgt. Antonetty is a nationally registered technologist,” she said. “He has completed the education equivalent to his civilian counterparts for this achievement. Our beneficiaries will benefit from his knowledge and expertise in this field.”
Carter said the Army radiology specialists are not required to obtain this certification.
“Taking it upon himself to earn this certification shows that Sgt. Antonetty had great dedication to study and pass the examination necessary to be added to the registry,” she said. “Once he leaves the Army, he can apply to any civilian hospital and be able to get hired on quickly.”
Carter said the entire department is extremely proud of Antonetty and his accomplishments.
Immediately following his success credentialing with the ARRT, Antonetty attended master resiliency training.
“I enjoy radiology and performance,” he said. “I just returned from MRT and I really enjoyed it. The Army has given me a lot of opportunities to try and experience different things that I may not have otherwise.”
Antonetty said he is undecided on the course of study he will pursue for his bachelor’s degree, however MRT has piqued his interest in sports psychology.
Editor’s Note: Service members and veterans can visit https://www.metc.mil/Academics/Degree-Bridge-Programs for more information about available degrees by using filters to choose a training department, program name and degree, or credential level. Links to colleges and universities can also be found within the program.