How to Select an X-Ray Technician School near Texarkana Arkansas
Congrats regarding your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Texarkana AR in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it’s essential that you investigate each of the colleges you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let’s explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Texarkana AR hospitals, clinics, private 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 have to care for their equipment plus frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As Texarkana AR health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received 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 techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that Texarkana AR radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Arkansas or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, many Texarkana AR employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase 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 demands re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often provided in area family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your Texarkana AR residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating Texarkana AR x-ray technician colleges. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it’s still imperative to make sure that the program and school 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Texarkana AR employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the Arkansas xray technician programs you are reviewing have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Texarkana AR medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Texarkana AR 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 commuting distance of their Texarkana AR residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 generally 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 student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Texarkana AR colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the x-ray tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in Texarkana AR, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn 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 an Xray Technician?When prepping to interview for an X-Ray Tech job, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask radiographer prospects is "What made you choose radiography as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming an X-Ray tech, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to radiography, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding X-Ray tech and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Best X-Ray Technician Program near Texarkana AR
Picking the ideal radiology tech school is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Texarkana AR.
Some Background on Texarkana Arkansas
Texarkana metropolitan area
The Texarkana, AR–Texarkana, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget, is a two-county region anchored by the twin cities of Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas, and encompassing the surrounding communities in Bowie County, Texas and Miller County, Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the MSA had a population of 143,486. Texarkana is a subset of the broader Ark-La-Tex region.
Texarkana was founded in 1873 on the junction of two railroads. The name is a portmanteau of TEXas, ARKansas, and nearby LouisiANA. One tradition tells of a Red River steamboat named The Texarkana, c. 1860. Another story mentions a storekeeper named Swindle in Red Land, Louisiana who concocted a drink called "Texarkana Bitters". A third account states that Col. Gus Knobel, a railroad surveyor, coined the name. Local lore suggests that, before Texas's annexation by the US, lawlessness ruled in the area that at times was claimed by various nations.
In 1876, Texarkana, Texas, was granted a charter under an act of the Texas legislature, and a Texarkana, Texas, post office operated from 1886 to 1892. Later, Congressman Morris Sheppard (D-TX) secured a postal order officially changing the name to "Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas".
The Texarkana metropolitan area was first defined in 1960. Then known as the Texarkana, TX–Texarkana, AR Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, it consisted of Bowie County, Texas and Miller County, Arkansas. In 1963, the area was renamed the Texarkana, TX–AR Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, only to return to its original name in 1971.
Little River County, Arkansas, was added to the SMSA in 1973. In 1983, the official name was shortened to the Texarkana, TX–Texarkana, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is still in use. That same year, Little River County was removed from the MSA. The two-county MSA had a population of 137,486 in 2000.
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