So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Apache Junction AZ in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifications also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Apache Junction AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment plus routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Apache Junction AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Apache Junction AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Apache Junction AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Apache Junction AZ. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Apache Junction AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Apache Junction AZ health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Apache Junction AZ in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Apache Junction AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Apache Junction AZ schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Apache Junction AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Apache Junction X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech school is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Apache Junction Arizona.