So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fountain Hills AZ in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Fountain Hills AZ hospitals, clinics, private 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 have to take care of their equipment and regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned 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 techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. 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 choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Fountain Hills AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Fountain Hills AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive 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 Technician Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Fountain Hills AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Fountain Hills AZ. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Fountain Hills AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally 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 Fountain Hills AZ health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Fountain Hills AZ in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Fountain Hills AZ residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back 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 personalized instruction. Ask the Fountain Hills AZ colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fountain Hills AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Fountain Hills X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the best radiology technician college is an important first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is equally 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 program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Fountain Hills Arizona.