So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Chino Valley AZ in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are additional significant qualifications as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are multiple 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 identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Chino Valley AZ hospitals, clinics, family 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 maintain their equipment and routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally 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 finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Chino Valley AZ or their area. After you have graduated from any 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.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several accept other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Chino Valley AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools 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 online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Chino Valley AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
After you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Chino Valley AZ. You will also have 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 critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid 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 Chino Valley AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are evaluating have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Chino Valley AZ health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Chino Valley 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 success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Chino Valley AZ home. Students who have decided 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 concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Chino Valley AZ schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Chino Valley AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Chino Valley X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate radiology tech school is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed 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. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Chino Valley Arizona.