So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Cottonwood AZ in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Cottonwood AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize 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 routinely assess its performance 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 Technician Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Cottonwood AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several provide other options for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Cottonwood AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Cottonwood AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start 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 local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Cottonwood AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Cottonwood AZ health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Cottonwood AZ in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Cottonwood AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Cottonwood AZ schools you are considering what the typical 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must 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, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Cottonwood X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with 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 doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Cottonwood Arizona.