So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Coolidge AZ in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer 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 discuss what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Coolidge AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might 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 plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned 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 common among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two 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 finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of 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 practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Coolidge AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable 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 Coolidge AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Coolidge AZ. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school 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 undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Coolidge AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Coolidge AZ health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Coolidge AZ in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Coolidge AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Coolidge AZ colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student 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 an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Coolidge AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Coolidge X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech school is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Coolidge Arizona.