So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Casa Grande AZ so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, 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 evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Casa Grande AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might work with 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain 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 Tech Degrees
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Casa Grande AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several provide additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Casa Grande AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a part 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 colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Casa Grande AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online style of learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make certain that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Casa Grande AZ. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have earned some form 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 respected 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 a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Casa Grande AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Casa Grande AZ healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Casa Grande AZ in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Casa Grande AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Casa Grande AZ colleges you are considering 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 speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Casa Grande AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check 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.
Enroll in the Right Casa Grande X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right x-ray technician college is an important first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiographer in Casa Grande Arizona.