So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Big Park AZ in order to train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Big Park AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment plus frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected 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.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Big Park AZ or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates 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 school, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve other options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Big Park AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Big Park AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Big Park AZ. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also receive 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. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Big Park AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician programs you are assessing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Big Park AZ healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Big Park AZ in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Big Park AZ residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Big Park AZ colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Big Park AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Big Park X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Big Park Arizona.