So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Green Valley AZ in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Green Valley AZ clinics, hospitals, private 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 have to care for their equipment plus frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Green Valley AZ or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide other alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Green Valley AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Green Valley AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Green Valley AZ. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology 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. Among the most highly regarded 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 detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Green Valley AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are assessing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Green Valley AZ health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Green Valley AZ in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech 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 large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Green Valley AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Green Valley AZ colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Green Valley X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right x-ray tech college is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Green Valley Arizona.