How to Select an X-Ray Tech Program near West Hills California
Congrats on your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school near West Hills CA so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the ideal college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s important that you assess each of the schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let’s explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in West Hills CA clinics, hospitals, family 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 maintain their equipment plus routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As West Hills CA medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that West Hills CA radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in California or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous West Hills CA employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options to become certified. ARRT’s certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. 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 Technologist Degrees
As a component 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 programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in regional family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your West Hills CA home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally cheaper than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing West Hills CA x-ray technician schools. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it’s still imperative to confirm 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous West Hills CA employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the California xray technician programs you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the West Hills CA health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with West Hills CA healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their West Hills CA residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within 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 get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the West Hills CA schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the x-ray tech program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in West Hills CA, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Why Did You Desire to Be an Xray Technician?When getting ready to interview for an X-Ray Tech position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask radiographer applicants is "What made you select radiography as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming an X-Ray tech, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to radiography, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you would like to address them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding X-Ray tech and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right Radiology Tech Program near West Hills CA
Selecting the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a x-ray tech in West Hills CA.
Some Background on West Hills California
West Hills, Los Angeles
West Hills is an affluent residential and commercial neighborhood in the western San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. The percentage of residents aged 35 and older is among the highest in Los Angeles County.
The neighborhood was formerly the home of many Native American tribes, and during the early Spanish and Mexican era was part of the Mission San Fernando Rey de España. In the American era, West Hills was part of Owensmouth, which was renamed Canoga Park in 1930. West Hills was established in western Canoga Park and retained its present name in 1987.
Historic landmarks and many city parks are to be found within the community, as are commercial districts, a business district, and religious establishments. Two private high schools are among the 13 schools within West Hills.
West Hills (formerly joined with Canoga Park) is located in the West San Fernando Valley (SFV) in the county of Los Angeles and about 30 minutes (depending on traffic) from Downtown Los Angeles. It is off of the 101 Ventura freeway offramp Valley Circle Blvd/Mullholland Highway.
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