So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Lake Havasu City AZ in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications also. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Lake Havasu City AZ clinics, hospitals, 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 have to maintain their equipment plus frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Lake Havasu City 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 working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Lake Havasu City AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in Lake Havasu City AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Lake Havasu City AZ. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 gone through a detailed review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray tech programs you are reviewing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Lake Havasu City AZ health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Lake Havasu City AZ in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are assessing 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 students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. 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 area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 often 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 hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.