So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mesa AZ in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you need to ask 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 evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job function, 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 treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Mesa AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 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 complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Mesa AZ or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Arizona or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide additional options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Mesa AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often conducted in Mesa AZ hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often less costly than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits 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 option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Mesa AZ. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies 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 detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Mesa AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Mesa AZ health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Mesa AZ in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Mesa AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Mesa AZ colleges you are considering what the typical 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Mesa AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Mesa X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Mesa Arizona.