So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gilbert AZ in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed 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 Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually requires 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 four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for 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 clinical training or lab component as a component 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 Gilbert AZ or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, 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 additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Gilbert AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
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 no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Gilbert AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Gilbert AZ. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Gilbert AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray tech schools you are assessing have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Gilbert AZ healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Gilbert AZ in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable 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 number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Gilbert AZ home. Individuals who have chosen 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. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Gilbert AZ colleges you are reviewing 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Gilbert X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best radiology tech school is an important first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Gilbert Arizona.