How to Pick the Right Radiology Tech Degree Program near Youngstown Pennsylvania
So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Youngstown PA so you can become a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it’s imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let’s explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description in Youngstown PA
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Youngstown PA hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with 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 also frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered near Youngstown PA
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Youngstown PA or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Pennsylvania or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous Youngstown area employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Youngstown PA to earn certification. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Youngstown PA family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your Youngstown home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Youngstown PA. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important variable also. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it’s still imperative to confirm 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation 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. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Youngstown PA health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Youngstown PA medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Youngstown PA in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Pennsylvania healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Youngstown PA residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Youngstown PA colleges you are considering 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Youngstown PA area, verify 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in an X-ray Tech Program near Youngstown PA?
If you are considering attending a radiologic technologist school near Youngstown PA, following is some interesting background information regarding the location of your future campus that may assist you in making your final decision.
The Youngstown–Warren–Boardman metropolitan area, typically known as the Mahoning Valley or the Steel Valley, is a metropolitan area in Northeast Ohio in the United States, with the city of Youngstown, Ohio, at its center. According to the US Census Bureau, the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) includes Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio and Mercer county in Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the MSA had a population of 565,773.
This area also has a strong commuter interchange with Cleveland and Pittsburgh and their metropolitan areas. It is located at the geographic center of the Rust Belt of the United States which stretches from Minneapolis in the west to Johnstown and Altoona in the east.
Although steel has been produced in the Mahoning Valley since the mid-1800s, after the Civil War, the valley was primarily known for its iron production. Conversion to steel manufacturing began during the economic depression of the 1890s. The Mahoning Valley is suitable for steel manufacture because of "its proximity to the Lake Erie ports that receive iron ore…the coal fields of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia; and to limestone deposits." The "25-mile stretch of steel mills and related industries" along the Mahoning River is similar to the Ruhr Valley in Germany." Historically, it was the largest steel producing region in the world (including all of Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania).
The local steel industry declined during the 1970s steel crisis. A notable plant closure occurred on September 19, 1977, when Youngstown Sheet and Tube abruptly closed its Campbell Works and furloughed 5,000 workers. Today the area produces little steel, and is home to many scrap metal yards and aluminum plants. A 2009 documentary titled "Steel Valley: Meltdown" describes "the past, present and future of the Mahoning Valley" through the eyes of local experts, including one local organizer who stated, "We are the first generation completely removed from the days when steel mills were active."
Find the Right X Ray Tech Schools Youngstown PA
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing 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 position and sometimes 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 requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. You originally came to this website due to an interest in X Ray Tech Schools. However, as we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Youngstown PA.
More Diagnostic Locations in Pennsylvania