So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Lake Havasu City AZ in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology 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 technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Lake Havasu City 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 have to maintain their equipment and also regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Lake Havasu City AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Lake Havasu City AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Lake Havasu City AZ. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the school and program 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Lake Havasu City AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Lake Havasu City AZ health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Lake Havasu City AZ in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are researching 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, confirm 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 need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Lake Havasu City X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.