So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Avondale AZ so you can train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Avondale AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment plus regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required 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.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Avondale AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several approve additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Avondale AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Avondale AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Avondale AZ. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn 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. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Avondale AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Avondale AZ healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Avondale AZ in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Avondale AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Avondale AZ colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher 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 several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Avondale AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. 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 Best Avondale X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the ideal radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Avondale Arizona.