How to Select an X-Ray Tech School near Pittsburg California
Congrats regarding your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Pittsburg CA in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s essential that you assess each of the schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let’s explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Pittsburg 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 maintain their equipment plus frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As Pittsburg CA medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally 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 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that Pittsburg CA radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in California or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous Pittsburg CA employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options to become certified. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often performed in local hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your Pittsburg CA home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make sure that the online college you choose 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 school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating Pittsburg CA x-ray tech colleges. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it’s still imperative to verify 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn 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 help in getting 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 many Pittsburg CA employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the California xray tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Pittsburg CA medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Pittsburg CA healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Pittsburg CA home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically 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 likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pittsburg CA 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the x-ray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the x-ray tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in Pittsburg CA, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Why Did You Choose to Be an Xray Technician?When prepping to interview for an X-Ray Tech position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask radiographer prospects is "What drove you to pick radiography as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being an X-Ray tech, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to radiography, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must organize several ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent X-Ray tech and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Right X-Ray Tech Program near Pittsburg CA
Enrolling in the ideal radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed 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 pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. 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 evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Pittsburg CA.
Some Background on Pittsburg California
Pittsburg is an industrial city in Contra Costa County, California. The population was 63,264 at the 2010 census. It is located on the southern shore of the Suisun Bay in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 1849, Colonel Jonathan D. Stevenson (from New York) bought the Rancho Los Medanos land grant, and laid out a town he called New York of the Pacific. By 1850, this venture failed. With the discovery of coal in the nearby town of Nortonville, the place became a port for coaling, and adopted the name Black Diamond, after the mining firm that built the Black Diamond Coal Mining Railroad from there to Nortonville. Because of the industrial potential of the site, a name change to Pittsburg was proposed in 1909.
Pittsburg, originally settled in 1839, was called first "New York Landing", then "Black Diamond", before citizens voted on "Pittsburg" on February 11, 1911. The name was selected to honor Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the two cities' shared a common steel and mining industrial heritage. However, from 1891 to July 1911, Pittsburgh, PA was officially known as "Pittsburg", following a country-wide standardization of geographical names by the United States Board on Geographic Names. Hence, in February 1911, when Pittsburg, CA adopted its name, the 'h' was absent from its namesake city. Five months later (July 1911), after an appeals process lasting almost two decades, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania won a rare reversal and the 'h' was restored to the city's official name, which persists to this day, resulting in the spelling difference.
In 1910, Columbia Steel opened its California steel plant in Pittsburg with one foundry and a crew of 60 employees. It made steel castings for the dredging, lumber and shipping industries. In 1930, Columbia became a subsidiary of U.S. Steel Company. The plant continued to grow until the early 1950s, reaching a peak staff of 5,200 employees. when the markets for its products crashed. The parent company (by 1986, renamed as USS Company) had merged with Korean Pohang Iron and Steel Company. Together they invested $450 million turning the Pittsburg plant into a modern flat-products mill, renamed as USS-Posco. As of 1999, the facility employed 970 workers and shipped over 1.6 million U.S. tons per year of steel to over 175 customers in the Western U. S., Mexico, Canada and the Pacific Rim.
The original town site fronts on the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta, reflecting its origins as a deep water channel river port. (As of January 1, 2007, state legislation [Assembly Bill 2324] enabled the city to manage its own riverfront for commercial development and subsequent port operations). Since the early 1900s, the city has grown inland to the south, then spread east and west along State Route 4, now a freeway carrying resident commuters to jobs in the San Francisco Bay-Oakland Region. In the process, the former town of Cornwall, California was absorbed. The city has enjoyed continued residential redevelopment growth near its northern boundary, as well as ongoing construction of major subdivisions in the southwest hills, including San Marco Villas. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,769.
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