So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Catalina Foothills AZ in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the ideal college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might 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 in order to compare each program. Most students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications as well. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented 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 Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may 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 regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program 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 technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Catalina Foothills AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites 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 provide additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Catalina Foothills AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Catalina Foothills AZ. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Catalina Foothills AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Catalina Foothills AZ health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Catalina Foothills AZ in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Catalina Foothills AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Catalina Foothills X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases 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 radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Catalina Foothills Arizona.