So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Buckeye AZ so you can train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about choosing the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications as well. For instance, you need to find out 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 reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Buckeye 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 must maintain their equipment and regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep 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 Degrees
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received 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 prevalent among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Buckeye AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Buckeye AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Buckeye AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals 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 obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Buckeye AZ. You will also have to determine if you prefer 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 critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Buckeye AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the xray technician schools you are assessing have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Buckeye AZ health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Buckeye AZ in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Buckeye AZ home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Buckeye AZ colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Buckeye AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out 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.
Choose the Right Buckeye X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the appropriate radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Buckeye Arizona.