So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Flagstaff AZ in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should 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 education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has 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 treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Flagstaff AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option 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 finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Flagstaff AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from any 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
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several provide other options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Flagstaff AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools 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 obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Flagstaff AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Flagstaff AZ. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies 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 securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Flagstaff AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Flagstaff AZ health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Flagstaff AZ in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Flagstaff AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Flagstaff AZ schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Flagstaff X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Flagstaff Arizona.