So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Catalina Foothills AZ in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask if 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 article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Catalina Foothills AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and frequently assess its performance and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. 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, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. 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 can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Catalina Foothills AZ or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve 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 calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online program you select 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 right option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Catalina Foothills AZ. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Catalina Foothills AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Catalina Foothills AZ healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Catalina Foothills AZ in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Catalina Foothills AZ schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt 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 attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Catalina Foothills X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Catalina Foothills Arizona.