So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Flagstaff AZ in order to become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Flagstaff AZ clinics, hospitals, private 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 must maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college 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 prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete 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. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Flagstaff AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Flagstaff AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often performed in Flagstaff AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you choose 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 school may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Flagstaff AZ. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 rigorous review 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. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Flagstaff AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Flagstaff AZ in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask 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 a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Flagstaff AZ residence. Individuals who have opted 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 concern. One thing 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 need 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 don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Flagstaff X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the best x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Flagstaff Arizona.