How to Select a Radiology Technician School in Connecticut
Congratulations on your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school in Connecticut in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it’s essential that you research each of the colleges you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let’s discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Connecticut hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or “CAT” scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As Connecticut health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option 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 finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that Connecticut radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Connecticut or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many Connecticut employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options to become certified. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a component of any degree program, Connecticut x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically conducted in local hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your Connecticut home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make certain that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating Connecticut x-ray tech colleges. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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 help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Connecticut employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the Connecticut radiology technician programs you are reviewing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Connecticut health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Connecticut healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Connecticut home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have 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 don’t reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Connecticut colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the x-ray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the x-ray tech school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in Connecticut, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Pick the Right Radiology Technician School in Connecticut
Picking the appropriate radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward starting a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your final 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 focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a x-ray tech in Connecticut.