How to Select an X-Ray Tech Program near Pacoima California
Best wishes on your decision to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Pacoima CA so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it’s imperative that you research each of the schools you are considering so that you can 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 frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let’s explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Pacoima CA hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or “CAT” scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As Pacoima CA health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned 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 prevalent among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that Pacoima CA radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in California or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites 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 purpose of licensing, but many accept other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many Pacoima CA employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase 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 rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in regional family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your Pacoima CA residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just make sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating Pacoima CA x-ray tech colleges. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local 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 factor also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it’s still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Pacoima CA health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the California radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Pacoima CA medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Pacoima CA healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Pacoima CA home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pacoima CA colleges you are looking at 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the x-ray technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in Pacoima CA, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Why Did You Want to Become an X-Ray Tech?When prepping to interview for an X-Ray Tech job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask radiographer applicants is "What made you choose radiography as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming an Xray technician, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to radiography, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional X-Ray tech and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Right X-Ray Technician Program near Pacoima CA
Picking the best radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology 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 furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Pacoima CA.
Some Background on Pacoima California
Pacoima, Los Angeles
Pacoima is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the northern San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. It covers an area of 7.14 square miles and has a population of over 81,000 people, with a density of approximately 10,510 people per square mile. The vast majority of the population is Hispanic.
Pacoima is bordered by the Los Angeles districts of Mission Hills on the west, Arleta on the south, Sun Valley on the southeast, Lake View Terrace on the northeast, and by the city of San Fernando on the north.
Ed Meagher of the Los Angeles Times wrote in 1955 that the 110-block area on the north side of San Fernando Road in Pacoima consisted of what he described as a "smear of sagging, leaning shacks and backhouses framed by disintegrating fences and clutter of tin cans, old lumber, stripped automobiles, bottles, rusted water heaters and other bric-a-brac of the back alleys." In 1955 Pacoima lacked curbs, paved sidewalks, and paved streets. Pacoima had what Meagher described as "dusty footpaths and rutted dirt roads that in hard rains become beds for angry streams." Meagher added that the 450 houses in the area, with 2,000 inhabitants, "squatted" "within this clutch of residential blight." He described most of the houses as "substandard." Around 1955, the price of residential property increased in value, as lots that sold years prior for $100 sold for $800 in 1955. Between 1950 and 1955, property values on Van Nuys Boulevard increased six times. In late 1952, the Los Angeles City Council allowed the Building and Safety Department to begin a slum clearance project to try to force homeowners who had houses deemed substandard to repair, demolish, or vacate those said houses. In early 1955, the city began a $500,000 project to add 9 miles (14 km) of curbs, sidewalks, and streets. Meagher said that the "neatness and cleanness" [sic] of the new infrastructure were "a challenge to homeowners grown apathetic to thoroughfares ankle deep in mud or dust." Some area businessmen established the San Fernando Valley Commercial & Savings Bank in November 1953 to finance area rehabilitation projects after other banks persistently refused to give loans to those projects.
In late 1966, a 48 page city planning report criticized the central business district of Pacoima along Van Nuys Boulevard for being "a rambling, shallow strip pattern of commercial uses... varying from banks to hamburger stands, including an unusual number of small business and service shops." A Los Angeles Times article stated that the physical image of the area was "somewhat depressing." The council recommended the establishment of smaller community shopping centers. The article stated that the Pacoima Chamber of Commerce was expected to oppose the recommendation, and that the chamber favored deepening of the existing commercial zones along Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Van Nuys Boulevard. The council criticized the lack of parking spaces and storefronts that appeared in disrepair or vacant. The report also recommended establishing shopping centers in areas outside of the Laurel Canyon-Van Nuys commercial axis. The article stated that some sections of Laurel Canyon were "in a poor state of repair" and that there were "conspicuously minimal" curbs and sidewalks. The report recommended continued efforts to improve sidewalks and trees. The report also advocated the establishment of a community center to, in the words of the article, "give Pacoima a degree of unity." Most of the residences in Pacoima were, in the words of the article, "of an older vintage." The article said most of the houses and yards, especially in the R-2 duplex zones, exhibited "sign[s] of neglect." The report said that the range of types of houses was "unusually narrow for a community of this size." The report also said that the fact had a negative effect on the community that was reflected by a lack of purchasing power. The report added "Substandard home maintenance is widespread and borders on total neglect in some sectors." The report recommended establishing additional apartments in central Pacoima; the Los Angeles Times report said that the recommendation was "clouded" by the presence of "enough apartment-zoned land to last 28 years" in the San Fernando Valley.
In 1994, according to Timothy Williams of the Los Angeles Times, there were few boarded-up storefronts along Pacoima's main commercial strip along Van Nuys Boulevard, and no vacancies existed in Pacoima's main shopping center. Williams added that many of the retail outlets in Pacoima consisted of check cashing outlets, storefront churches, pawn shops, and automobile repair shops. Williams added that the nearest bank to the commercial strip was "several blocks away." In 1994 almost one third of Pacoima's residents lived in public housing complexes. Williams said that the complexes had relatively little graffiti. Many families who were on waiting lists to enter public housing complexes lived in garages and converted tool sheds, which often lacked electricity, heat, and/or running water. Williams said that they lived "out of sight."
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