So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mesa AZ so you can become a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Mesa 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 must take care of their equipment and also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Mesa AZ or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several approve other options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Mesa AZ to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part of every 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 schools. So although 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 family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just make sure that the online school 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 right option for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Mesa AZ. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship 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 schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies 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 an extensive examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Mesa AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Mesa AZ medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Mesa AZ in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Mesa AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even 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 frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Mesa AZ schools 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 converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Mesa AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Mesa X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right radiology technician school is an important first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Mesa Arizona.