So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Avra Valley AZ so you can become a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Avra Valley AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might 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 and also routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Avra Valley AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Avra Valley AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Avra Valley AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Colleges
After you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Avra Valley AZ. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Avra Valley AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Avra Valley AZ healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Avra Valley AZ in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Avra Valley AZ residence. Students who have opted 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. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Avra Valley AZ schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Avra Valley AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Avra Valley X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best radiology tech college is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Avra Valley Arizona.