So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Avra Valley AZ so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Avra Valley AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Avra Valley AZ or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Avra Valley AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Avra Valley AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Avra Valley AZ. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Avra Valley AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Avra Valley AZ medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Avra Valley AZ in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Avra Valley AZ home. Those who have decided 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 concern. Something 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Avra Valley AZ schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher 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 an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Avra Valley AZ area, make certain that they are available. 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Avra Valley X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the right radiology tech degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Avra Valley Arizona.