So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Catalina AZ so you can train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers also. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Catalina AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize 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 plus frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Catalina AZ or their region. Once 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several offer other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Catalina AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in Catalina AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Catalina AZ. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Catalina AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray technician programs you are interested in have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Catalina AZ medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Catalina AZ in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Catalina AZ home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Catalina AZ colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Catalina AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Catalina X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs 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 care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Catalina Arizona.