So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Coolidge AZ in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Coolidge AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with 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 routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Coolidge AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Coolidge AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
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 the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Coolidge AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in 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 right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Coolidge AZ. You will also need to decide if you want 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 cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 a rigorous assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Coolidge AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Coolidge AZ health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Coolidge AZ in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Coolidge AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Coolidge AZ schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Coolidge AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Coolidge X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Coolidge Arizona.