How to Find a Radiology Tech Program in Arizona
Congrats regarding your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school in Arizona so you can become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s essential that you investigate each of the schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifications also. For example, you need to 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 colleges you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let’s discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Arizona hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or “CAT” scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As Arizona health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that Arizona radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Arizona or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, 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 contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept additional options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many Arizona employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options to become certified. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a component of any degree program, Arizona x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in area hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your Arizona home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages 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 right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing Arizona x-ray tech colleges. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it’s still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Arizona health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the Arizona radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Arizona health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Arizona residence. Students who have chosen 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Arizona schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the x-ray technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in Arizona, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal X-Ray Technician College in Arizona
Selecting the ideal radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Arizona.