How to Select an X-Ray Tech College near Santa Maria California
Best wishes on your decision to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Santa Maria CA so you can become a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s imperative that you research each of the colleges you are considering in order to compare each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifications 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 schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let’s discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same primary 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 administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Santa Maria CA 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 take care of their equipment and also regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As Santa Maria CA medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have received 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, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that Santa Maria CA radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in California or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous Santa Maria CA employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options to earn certification. ARRT’s certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in regional hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your Santa Maria CA residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits 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 choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing Santa Maria CA x-ray technician schools. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it’s still important to verify that the school and program 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 undergone a detailed review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Santa Maria CA employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the California radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Santa Maria CA healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Santa Maria CA healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Santa Maria CA home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Santa Maria CA colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final 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 as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in Santa Maria CA, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Become an Xray Technician?When prepping to interview for an X-Ray Tech position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask radiographer candidates is "What drove you to select radiography as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being an Xray technician, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to radiography, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional X-Ray tech and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Radiology Tech College near Santa Maria CA
Choosing the ideal radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with 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 good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Santa Maria CA.
Some Background on Santa Maria California
Santa Maria, California
Santa Maria is a city near the Southern California coast in Santa Barbara County. It is approximately 150 miles (240 km) northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Its estimated 2016 population was 106,290, making it the most populous city in the county and the Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA Metro Area. The city is notable for its wine industry and Santa Maria-style barbecue. Sunset magazine called Santa Maria "The West's Best BBQ Town".
The Santa Maria Valley, stretching from the Santa Lucia Mountains toward the Pacific Ocean, was the homeland of the Chumash people for several thousand years. The Native Americans made their homes on the slopes of the surrounding hills among the oaks, on the banks of the Santa Maria River among the sycamores, and along the coast. They had unique plank-built boats, called Tomol, which they used for ocean fishing.
In 1769, the Portolá Expedition passed through the Santa Maria Valley during the first Spanish land exploration up the coast of Las Californias Province. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was established just north of the valley in 1772, and Mission La Purísima Concepción was established near present-day Lompoc in 1787. Rather than rich soil, white settlers were attracted here by the possibility of free land. In 1821, after the Mexican War of Independence, the mission lands in Santa Maria Valley were made available for private ownership under a Mexican land grant called Rancho Punta de Laguna. At the end of the Mexican War in 1848, California was ceded to the United States.
In the late 19th century, after California gained statehood in 1850, the area's rich soil attracted farmers and other settlers. By the end of the century, the Santa Maria River Valley had become one of the most productive agricultural areas in the state. Agriculture is still a key component of the economy for the city and the entire region.
Between 1869 and 1874, four of the valley's settlers, Rudolph Cook, John Thornburg, Isaac Fesler (for whom Fesler Jr. High School is named), and Isaac Miller (for whom Miller Elementary School is named), built their homes near each other at the present corners on Broadway and Main Street. The townsite was recorded in Santa Barbara in 1875. The new town was named Grangerville, then changed to Central City. It became Santa Maria on February 18, 1885, since mail was often being sent by mistake to Central City, Colorado. Santa Maria was chosen from the name Juan Pacifico Ontiveros had given to his property 25 years earlier. Streets named after the four settlers now form a 6 block square centered at Broadway and Main Street, the center of town.
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