So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Eloy AZ so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Eloy AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 take care of their equipment and routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Eloy AZ or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Eloy AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Eloy AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Eloy AZ. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Eloy AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray technician schools you are reviewing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Eloy AZ health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Eloy AZ in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Eloy AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Eloy AZ schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eloy AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Eloy X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Eloy Arizona.