So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Drexel Heights AZ so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Drexel Heights 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 have to care for their equipment plus frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree 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 longer at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Drexel Heights AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing 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 college, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer other options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Drexel Heights AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a component of any 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 programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in Drexel Heights AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices 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 obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Drexel Heights 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 supplementary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also obtain 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. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Drexel Heights AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Drexel Heights AZ healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Drexel Heights AZ in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering 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 great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Drexel Heights AZ residence. 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 importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Drexel Heights AZ colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Drexel Heights AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Drexel Heights X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best x-ray technician school is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Drexel Heights Arizona.