So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Flagstaff AZ in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called 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. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Flagstaff AZ or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other options for testing also. A number of states also require 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 Flagstaff AZ to become certified. 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 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical 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 significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Flagstaff AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online program you select 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 right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Flagstaff AZ. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm that the program and school 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. 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 superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Flagstaff AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are assessing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Flagstaff AZ in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Flagstaff AZ home. Individuals who have chosen 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 bear in mind 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are reviewing 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Flagstaff X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal radiology tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the 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 follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Flagstaff Arizona.