How to Find a Radiology Technician Degree Program near Chicago Illinois
Congrats on your decision to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Chicago IL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it’s important that you assess each of the schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers also. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let’s explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Chicago IL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As Chicago IL medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at as much as 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 may be appropriate as well. Something to consider is that Chicago IL radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Illinois or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so contact 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 several approve other alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many Chicago IL employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options to earn certification. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
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 colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually conducted in regional family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your Chicago IL residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating Chicago IL x-ray tech colleges. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it’s still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 detailed evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance 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 getting financial aid 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 Chicago IL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the Illinois radiology technician colleges you are evaluating have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Chicago IL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish 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 radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Chicago IL healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Chicago IL home. Individuals 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 importance. 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Chicago IL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the x-ray tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in Chicago IL, make sure that they are offered. 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Radiology Technician?When prepping to interview for an X-Ray Tech job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask radiographer candidates is "What made you pick radiography as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming an X-Ray tech, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to radiography, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent X-Ray tech and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Best X-Ray Technician College near Chicago IL
Picking the ideal radiology tech degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Chicago IL.
Some Background on Chicago Illinois
Chicago (/ʃɪˈkɑːɡoʊ/ ( listen), locally also /-ˈkɔː-/), officially the City of Chicago, is the third most populous city in the United States, after New York City and Los Angeles. With over 2.7 million residents, it is also the most populous city in both the state of Illinois and the Midwestern United States. It is the county seat of Cook County. The Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, has nearly 10 million people and is the third-largest in the United States. It is the birthplace of the skyscraper and perhaps the most influential architectural city of the 20th century. Chicago saw the creation of the first standardized futures contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade; today its successor has evolved into the largest and most diverse derivatives market in the world, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures.
Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild. The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900 Chicago was one of the five largest cities in the world. During this period, Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, new construction styles (including the Chicago School of architecture), the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.
Positioned along Lake Michigan, the city is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. O'Hare International Airport is the one of the busiest airports in the world, and the region also has the largest number of U.S. highways and railroad freight. In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and it ranked seventh in the entire world in the 2017 Global Cities Index. Chicago has the fourth-largest gross metropolitan product in the world—about $670.5 billion according to September 2017 estimates-ranking it after the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, New York City, and Los Angeles, and ranking ahead of number five London and number six Paris. Chicago is also the largest economy in the Midwestern United States. The city has one of the world's largest and most diversified and balanced economies; not dependent on any one industry, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.
Chicago was the second most visited city in the United States with 55 million domestic and international visitors, behind the estimated 62.8 million tourists to New York City in 2017. The city ranked first place in the 2018 Time Out City Life Index, a global quality of life survey of 15,000 people in 32 cities. Landmarks in the city include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis (Sears) Tower, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago's culture includes the visual arts, novels, film, theater (especially improvisational comedy), food, and music, particularly jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop, gospel, and house music. There are many colleges and universities in the Chicago area, of which the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago are classified as "highest research" doctoral universities.
Chicago has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues. The city has many nicknames, the best known being the Windy City and Chi-Town.
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