So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gilbert AZ so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Gilbert AZ clinics, hospitals, 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 plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. 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 technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Gilbert AZ or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Gilbert AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Gilbert AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just confirm 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 structured style of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Gilbert AZ. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Gilbert AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray tech schools you are assessing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Gilbert AZ healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Gilbert AZ in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Gilbert AZ home. Those 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 concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school 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 normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Gilbert 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Gilbert X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Gilbert Arizona.