How to Pick a Radiologic Tech School near Sylmar California
Congrats on your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Sylmar CA so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the right school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s imperative that you assess each of the colleges you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let’s discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
There are several professional titles 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, they all have the same major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Sylmar CA hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or “CAT” scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and also regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As Sylmar CA health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that Sylmar CA radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in California or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous Sylmar CA employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options to earn certification. ARRT’s certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in area family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your Sylmar CA residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating Sylmar CA x-ray technician schools. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out 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 decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it’s still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Sylmar CA health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the California radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Sylmar CA health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Sylmar CA healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Sylmar CA residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep 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 may need 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 live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sylmar CA colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the x-ray tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the x-ray tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in Sylmar CA, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Become an Xray Technician?When prepping to interview for an X-Ray Tech position, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask radiographer applicants is "What compelled you to select radiography as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being an Xray technician, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to radiography, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you would like to address them. Since 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 appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent X-Ray tech and the leading candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Enroll in the Ideal X-Ray Technician Program near Sylmar CA
Enrolling in the ideal radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a x-ray tech in Sylmar CA.
Some Background on Sylmar California
Sylmar, Los Angeles
Sylmar is a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. Historically known for its profusion of olive orchards, Sylmar can trace its past to the 18th century and the founding of the San Fernando Mission. In 1890 olive production was begun in a systematic manner. The Sylmar climate was also considered healthy, and so a sanitarium was established, the first in a series of hospitals in the neighborhood. There are fourteen public and eight private schools within Sylmar.
The population of the Sylmar area was roughly 3,500 in 1940, 10,000 in 1950, 31,000 in 1962, 40,000 in 1972, 41,922 in 1980 and 53,392 in 1986. By 2000, a "wave of immigrants and working poor" had enveloped Sylmar, Pacoima, Arleta and Sun Valley, resulting in a housing shortage for lower-income people. The 2000 U.S. census counted 69,499 residents in the 12.46-square-mile Sylmar neighborhood—or 5,579 people per square mile, among the lowest population densities for the city. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 79,614. In 2009, the Sylmar Chamber of Commerce estimated that the population was approximately 90,000 residents.
In 1980 Sylmar was predominantly white, the ethnic breakdown being 58% white and 36% Latino. Twenty years later, in 2000, the neighborhood was considered "moderately diverse" ethnically within Los Angeles, with a relatively high percentage of Latinos. The breakdown in 2000 was Latinos, 69.8%; whites, 20.7%; blacks, 4.1%; Asians, 3.4%, and others, 2.0%. Mexico (71.7%) and El Salvador (8.4%) were the most common places of birth for the 36.7% of the residents who were born abroad—an average figure for Los Angeles. In 2000 the median age for residents was 28, considered young for city and county neighborhoods.
In 2000, renters occupied 29.2% of the housing stock, and house- or apartment-owners held 70.8%. The average household size of 3.6 people was considered high for Los Angeles. The percentage of married women (55.5%) was among the county's highest. There were 3,607 veterans, or 7.7% of the population, average for the city of Los Angeles and the county.
A study by four graduate students from the University of Southern California in 2005 stated that:
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