So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Chandler AZ in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you need to ask if 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 reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Chandler AZ clinics, hospitals, family 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 must care for their equipment and regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned 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, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Chandler AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Chandler 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 requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Chandler AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Chandler AZ. You will also need to decide if you prefer 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 price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. 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 premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Chandler AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Chandler AZ health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Chandler AZ in a new profession can be challenging 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 sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Chandler AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Chandler AZ colleges you are looking at what the average 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 a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Chandler X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology 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 a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Chandler Arizona.