So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Florence AZ so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer 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 talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Florence AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might 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 routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain 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
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 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 comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Florence AZ or their region. After you have graduated from one 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
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many approve other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Florence AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually performed in Florence AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often less costly than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make certain that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech schools near Florence AZ. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? 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 important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to verify 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. 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 assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Florence AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Florence AZ healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Florence AZ in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools 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 great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Florence AZ home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Florence AZ colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, make sure 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, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Florence X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the ideal radiology technician school is an important first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Florence Arizona.