So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Apache Junction AZ in order to learn to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other critical qualifications as well. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice 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 take care of their equipment and regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed 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 Offered
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive 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 keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Apache Junction AZ or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer other alternatives 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 could improve your career options in and around Apache Junction AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often performed in Apache Junction AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Apache Junction AZ. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Apache Junction AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Apache Junction AZ health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Apache Junction AZ in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs 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 good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Apache Junction AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Apache Junction AZ schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Apache Junction AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Apache Junction X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times 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 designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiographer in Apache Junction Arizona.