So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fountain Hills AZ so you can train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are other critical qualifications as well. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. 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 radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Fountain Hills AZ clinics, hospitals, 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 must maintain their equipment and also regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. 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 Fountain Hills AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Fountain Hills AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
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 no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Fountain Hills AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Fountain Hills AZ. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Fountain Hills AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are evaluating have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Fountain Hills AZ healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Fountain Hills AZ in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs 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 sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Fountain Hills AZ home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fountain Hills AZ colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor 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 xray tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fountain Hills AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Fountain Hills X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Fountain Hills Arizona.