So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near El Mirage AZ in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifications as well. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in El Mirage AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of each 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 standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in El Mirage AZ or their area. After 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around El Mirage AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in El Mirage AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online program 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 school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges 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 opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many El Mirage AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the El Mirage AZ medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in El Mirage 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 success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great 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 travelling distance of their El Mirage AZ home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern 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 even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the El Mirage AZ colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher 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 converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the El Mirage AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best El Mirage X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in El Mirage Arizona.