So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Flagstaff AZ so you can become a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in 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 Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Flagstaff AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Flagstaff AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves 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 fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Flagstaff AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Flagstaff AZ. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Flagstaff AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the xray tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Flagstaff AZ medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Flagstaff AZ in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Flagstaff AZ residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, check that they are available. 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Flagstaff X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiographer in Flagstaff Arizona.