So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Apache Junction AZ so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Apache Junction AZ hospitals, clinics, family 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 and also routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete 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 requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Apache Junction AZ or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Apache Junction AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Apache Junction AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make sure 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 structured style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Apache Junction AZ. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may 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 ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Apache Junction AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Apache Junction AZ medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Apache Junction AZ in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Apache Junction AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Apache Junction AZ colleges you are considering 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Apache Junction AZ area, make sure 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, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Apache Junction X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiographer in Apache Junction Arizona.