X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Arizona 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 must care for their equipment and regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
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 Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Arizona. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in Arizona to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Arizona hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online school you select 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 ideal choice for you.