So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Green Valley AZ in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Green Valley AZ hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish 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 extensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Green Valley AZ or their area. 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 working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many offer additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Green Valley AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Green Valley AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Green Valley AZ. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make 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 technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure that the school and program 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 undergone a detailed evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it might also receive 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. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Green Valley AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Green Valley AZ healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Green Valley AZ in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Green Valley AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Green Valley AZ schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Green Valley X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the ideal x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow 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 radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Green Valley Arizona.