So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near El Mirage AZ so you can train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications as well. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in El Mirage AZ clinics, hospitals, private 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 must take care of their equipment plus frequently analyze its functionality 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 primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. 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, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in El Mirage AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around El Mirage AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in El Mirage AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near El Mirage AZ. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship 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 programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of El Mirage AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech programs you are interested in have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the El Mirage AZ health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in El Mirage AZ in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their El Mirage AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the El Mirage AZ colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student 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 converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the El Mirage AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right El Mirage X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs 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 good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in El Mirage Arizona.