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. But now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in El Mirage AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize 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 frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained 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 two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in El Mirage AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around El Mirage AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of every 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 although you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often conducted in El Mirage AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near El Mirage AZ. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also receive 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. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many El Mirage AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the El Mirage AZ medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running 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 reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their El Mirage AZ home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the El Mirage AZ schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the El Mirage AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best El Mirage X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the right x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct 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 techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in El Mirage Arizona.