So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Cottonwood AZ in order to become a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Cottonwood AZ clinics, hospitals, private 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 have to care for their equipment and also frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have attained 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 common among techs, normally requires 18 months to two years to finish 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. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Cottonwood AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Cottonwood AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Cottonwood AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Cottonwood AZ. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Cottonwood AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Cottonwood AZ medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Cottonwood AZ in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Cottonwood AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally 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 student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Cottonwood AZ schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cottonwood 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 credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Cottonwood X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Cottonwood Arizona.