So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Catalina AZ so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about picking the right school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools 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 need to be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are several professional designations 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 same primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Catalina AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with 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 frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Catalina AZ or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many approve additional options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Catalina AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often conducted in Catalina AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Catalina AZ. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies 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 a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might also obtain 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. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Catalina AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Catalina AZ medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Catalina AZ in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Catalina AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Catalina AZ schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Catalina AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Catalina X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Catalina Arizona.