So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Maricopa AZ in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications as well. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. 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, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Maricopa AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Maricopa AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Maricopa AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Maricopa AZ. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Maricopa AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Maricopa AZ healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Maricopa AZ in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Maricopa AZ home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Maricopa AZ colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Maricopa AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Maricopa X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Maricopa Arizona.