How to Find an Xray Tech School in California
Congratulations on your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school in California in order to become a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it’s imperative that you research each of the colleges you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifications also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let’s talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in California hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or “CAT” scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment plus routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As California medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that California radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in California or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many approve other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous California employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options to become certified. ARRT’s certification program calls for 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 satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a component of any degree program, California x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in local family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your California home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often less expensive than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just make 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 school may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing California x-ray tech colleges. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it’s still crucial 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous 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 learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous California health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the California xray tech colleges you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the California medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with California healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their California home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the California schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the x-ray technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the x-ray tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in California, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best X-Ray Tech College in California
Picking the right x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability 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 techs work very closely with patients, other techs 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 available care to patients. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in California.