So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gilbert AZ in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Gilbert AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 care for their equipment and frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Gilbert AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several accept other options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Gilbert AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Gilbert AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just be sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Gilbert AZ. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged 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 acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Gilbert AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech schools you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Gilbert AZ medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Gilbert AZ in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large 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 number of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Gilbert AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Gilbert AZ schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the right radiology tech college is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Gilbert Arizona.