So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Cottonwood AZ in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately 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 in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Cottonwood AZ clinics, hospitals, family 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 have to maintain their equipment and regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Cottonwood AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Cottonwood AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Cottonwood AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort 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 costly than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just confirm that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like 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 travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. 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 help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Cottonwood AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are assessing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Cottonwood AZ healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Cottonwood AZ in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Cottonwood AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Cottonwood AZ colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cottonwood AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Cottonwood X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Cottonwood Arizona.