So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Green Valley AZ in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Green Valley AZ hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize 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 also regularly analyze its performance 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.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Green Valley AZ or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Green Valley 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 calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a part of any 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 while you can still earn your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Green Valley AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often less expensive than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Green Valley AZ. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have earned 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 respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Green Valley AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are assessing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Green Valley AZ medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Green Valley AZ in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great 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 pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Green Valley AZ residence. Individuals 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 concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Green Valley AZ schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Green Valley X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the best radiology technician college is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Green Valley Arizona.