So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mesa AZ so you can become a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require training 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 prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor 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 radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Mesa AZ clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might 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 routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed 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 Offered
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Mesa AZ or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Mesa AZ to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Mesa AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Mesa AZ. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing 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 many Mesa AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are assessing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Mesa AZ health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Mesa AZ in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement 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 students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Mesa AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Mesa AZ colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mesa AZ area, verify 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.
Enroll in the Best Mesa X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Mesa Arizona.