So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Avondale AZ so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Avondale AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with 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 regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program 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 prevalent among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish 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. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing 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 often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Avondale AZ or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Avondale AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Avondale AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Avondale AZ. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Avondale AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Avondale AZ medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Avondale AZ in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Avondale AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Avondale AZ colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Avondale AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Avondale X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the right radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Avondale Arizona.