So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Apache Junction AZ in order to become a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal school 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 x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are additional critical qualifications also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work 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 technologist may 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 also routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by taking part 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 one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several accept additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Apache Junction AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Apache Junction AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just be sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Apache Junction AZ. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of 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 gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may 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 school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Apache Junction AZ medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Apache Junction AZ in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Apache Junction AZ home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Apache Junction AZ schools you are considering what the average 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 speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt 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 enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Apache Junction X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the right x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Apache Junction Arizona.