So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Avra Valley AZ so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifications also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
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 identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Avra Valley AZ hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree 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 program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Avra Valley AZ or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several accept additional options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Avra Valley AZ to earn certification. 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 two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Avra Valley AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just confirm that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Avra Valley AZ. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have obtained 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 review of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain 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 superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Avra Valley AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray technician programs you are evaluating have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Avra Valley AZ health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Avra Valley AZ in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Avra Valley AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Avra Valley AZ schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student 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 converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Avra Valley AZ area, make sure 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Avra Valley X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the right radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed 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. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are considering prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Avra Valley Arizona.