So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Flagstaff AZ in order to become a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may 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 frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Flagstaff AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Flagstaff AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. 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 provided in Flagstaff AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Flagstaff AZ. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes 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 expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider 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 learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Flagstaff AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Flagstaff AZ health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Flagstaff AZ in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Flagstaff AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you finally choose can offer 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, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Flagstaff X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the appropriate x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Flagstaff Arizona.