So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Marana AZ so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing test. 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 potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications as well. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Marana 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 and regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned 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, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Marana AZ or their region. 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.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Marana AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges 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 degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often provided in Marana AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Marana AZ. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes 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 expenditures will be an important factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Marana AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Marana AZ healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Marana AZ in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great 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 decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Marana AZ home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Marana AZ colleges you are looking at what the typical 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 speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Marana AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Marana X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best radiology technician school is an important first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close 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 doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Marana Arizona.