So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bullhead City AZ so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to employ 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 opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Bullhead City AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 and also frequently assess its performance 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 Tech Degrees
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program 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, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Bullhead City AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number accept additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Bullhead City AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Bullhead City AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often less costly than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in 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 right option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Bullhead City AZ. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Bullhead City AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Bullhead City AZ health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Bullhead City AZ in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Bullhead City AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Bullhead City AZ colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students 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 radiographer program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bullhead City AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Bullhead City X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move 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 medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is similarly 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 program so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Bullhead City Arizona.