How to Choose an X-Ray Tech School near Santa Ana California
Congrats on your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Santa Ana CA in order to train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it’s imperative that you investigate each of the colleges you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should 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 colleges you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let’s talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Santa Ana CA hospitals, clinics, 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 have to maintain their equipment and also routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As Santa Ana CA health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained 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 common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that Santa Ana CA radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in California or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need 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 require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many Santa Ana CA employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options to earn certification. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of every 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 while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in local hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your Santa Ana CA residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less costly than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. 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 structured style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing Santa Ana CA x-ray tech schools. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it’s still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. 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 superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Santa Ana CA health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the California radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Santa Ana CA healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Santa Ana CA healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Santa Ana CA home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Santa Ana CA colleges you are reviewing 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in Santa Ana CA, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Radiologic Technologist?When getting ready to interview for an X-Ray Tech position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask radiographer prospects is "What compelled you to pick radiography as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a radiology technician, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to radiography, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional X-Ray tech and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal X-Ray Tech School near Santa Ana CA
Picking the best radiology tech college is an important first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Santa Ana CA.
Some Background on Santa Ana California
Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana /ˌsæntə ˈænə/ (Spanish for "Saint Anne") is the county seat and second most populous city in Orange County, California. The United States Census Bureau estimated its 2011 population at 329,427, making Santa Ana the 57th most-populous city in the United States.
Santa Ana is located in Southern California, adjacent to the Santa Ana River, about 10 miles (16 km) away from the California coast. Founded in 1869, the city is part of the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second largest metropolitan area in the United States with almost 18 million residents in 2010. Santa Ana is a very densely populated city, ranking fourth nationally in that regard among cities of over 300,000 residents (trailing only New York City, San Francisco, and Boston). In 2011 Forbes ranked Santa Ana the fourth-safest city of over 250,000 residents in the United States.
Santa Ana lends its name to the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5), which runs through the city. It also shares its name with the nearby Santa Ana Mountains, and the Santa Ana winds, which have historically fueled seasonal wildfires throughout Southern California. The current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metropolitan designation for the Orange County Area is Santa Ana–Anaheim–Irvine, California.
Members of the Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño are indigenous to the area. The Tongva called the Santa Ana area "Hotuuk."
After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolá out of Mexico City, then capitol of New Spain, Friar Junípero Serra named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne, or Santa Ana Valley). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano was established within this valley. This Santa Ana Valley comprised most of what is now called Orange County.
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