So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Litchfield Park AZ so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask if 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 article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called 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 objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Litchfield Park AZ hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Litchfield Park AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Litchfield Park AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Litchfield Park AZ family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Litchfield Park AZ. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Litchfield Park AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Litchfield Park AZ healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Litchfield Park AZ in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Litchfield Park AZ residence. Individuals who have decided 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 importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Litchfield Park AZ colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Litchfield Park AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Litchfield Park X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the ideal radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward launching a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Litchfield Park Arizona.