So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Coolidge AZ so you can become a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Coolidge 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 care for their equipment and frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth 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 prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Coolidge AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number accept other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Coolidge AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Coolidge AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Coolidge AZ. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important variable also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Coolidge AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Coolidge AZ medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Coolidge AZ in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Coolidge AZ home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Coolidge AZ colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Coolidge AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Coolidge X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Coolidge Arizona.