Searching for the perfect college, university or school for your X-ray Tech education can be a daunting task. There are extensive lists of X-ray programs throughout the United States. Most students prefer to go to school near their home and pick a program that is in close proximity. However, other than their geographical location,you may ask:
What are the differences between X-ray programs offered at each of these schools?
How can I distinguish between a quality education and one that could leave me unprepared for a job in this field?
To become an X-ray Tech, you must first select a program that will provide you the best possible education so you will enter your profession well prepared, knowledgeable and comfortable with your learned skills. To help you differentiate between a quality education and one that could leave you unprepared; you must understand the term ‘accreditation.’
Accreditation is a set of standards, or criteria, that these schools must meet. Accreditation is a checking system, of sorts, for colleges, universities and institutions of higher learning. A review board that is made up of faculty from various universities and colleges sets the general standards for these schools. To be ‘accredited’ means that college, or university, has met a strict set of guidelines and standards, and is considered a reputable, quality education. To be accredited, the review board looks at each school’s
Objectives and Goals
Requirements for Admission
Quality of the Education
Not all schools need to be accredited, such as those that have specialty training programs in technical or art fields. But for those interested in becoming an X-ray Tech, choosing a reputable college or university is quite important.
Accreditation is important for several reasons. The first, an accredited college or university will most like have more degree programs that future employers and recruiters recognize. If you have completed your education and are interested in joining a larger University hospital, for example, such accreditation and familiarity with your chosen program could definitely help you gain employment. Prospective employers want to confidently know you are the perfect candidate for them. If you obtained your education at a non-accredited school, there may be some uncertainty that you are qualified.
Accreditation also is an important factor for credit transfers. If you are just beginning your education, you may not anticipate transferring right now. However, you may someday be interested in obtaining your graduate or doctoral level of education. If you wish to transfer to another college, accreditation will play a large factor in this process. If your education was received from an accredited school, your credits will most likely transfer to another accredited school. For students who unfortunately obtained their education at a non-accredited school, transfer could be a loss of these hard-earned credits. A good example of this can be located on the University of California’s policy page. This University, like many others, will not accept any transfer credits from schools that are not accredited. For you, this could mean the loss of hard-earned credits, money, and the time spent going to class as well as any test results, and book costs.
One of the biggest risks associated with non-accredited schools is to you, the student. Along with the potential loss of transfer credits and the risk of losing a potential employer, non-accredited programs could simply waste your time. Whether you are fresh out of high school and looking to start a great career as an X-ray Tech or you are switching to this career later in life, you deserve a great education. You need quality instructors who are proven in their field, to teach you everything you need to become a great X-ray Tech. The program you choose should offer you the best ways to provide this information, whether through lectures or hands-on training, and be provided by instructors who are qualified, seasoned and fully trained to give you the very best instruction possible.
If you select a non-accredited X-ray Tech program, there are no assurances the program you choose will meet any educational requirements or even be a quality program. You could end up losing both money and time. To re-do such a costly mistake, you may find yourself starting over at an accredited school, taking a quality X-ray Tech program. These reasons are why accreditation is so important in selecting a great program that will be perfect for you.
An accredited program is one that possesses either regional or national accreditation from an accrediting Board that is recognized by the United States Department of Education. If you are interested in a particular X-ray Tech program in your area and want to find out if the program is accredited, you can contact the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Also known as JRCERT, this agency is the only one that is recognized by the Department of Education for accreditation of programs in radiography, magnetic resonance, medical dosimetry, and radiation therapy. You can verify a program is accredited through this Agency as well as learn about other quality X-ray Tech programs that are accredited. The Agency can easily be reached at http://www.jrcert.org/
You can also find accredited programs through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, also known as AART. This registry is the certifying body by which X-ray Technicians can apply for certification. Once certified by ARRT, the X-ray Technician can then apply for their State licensing. Only those X-ray Techs that are certified by AART can receive their license. The ARRT can validate which programs you are interested in are accredited programs.
Once you complete your education, you can become certified as an X-ray Tech. To become certified, you must take, and pass, a certification exam. Some States have their own exam, however most States use the ARRT exam. You must first register to take this exam through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Accreditation plays an important role in this area as well, because only graduates from an accredited program are eligible to take the certification exam.
The certification exam has 220 questions, and is multiple choice. You will have four hours to complete your certification exam. You must obtain a passing score of 75% or higher. If you do not pass this exam after three attempts, you must re-take your formal training again from the beginning.
Once you pass your certification exam, you will be a Registered Technologist (RT). Having this registry of RT will indicate to patients you are a skilled professional who is competent in all area of X—ray Technology including radiation hazards and medical ethics. You will need to keep your certification valid. To do this, you must complete 24 hours of education every two years for recertification. These continuous education hours are very beneficial, not just for recertification but to keep you well informed of the newest technology, procedures and standards being used.
After obtaining a quality education from an accredited institute of learning, passing your certification exam and becoming a Registered Technologist, you will enjoy an exciting career helping others. A lucrative salary range of $48,000 – $72,000 annually is compensation for your knowledge, training and high degree of skill within your field. You may have the opportunity, in your career, to obtain the images that will save a patient’s life. You will meet new people each day, and through your skill and professionalism, be able to calm and prepare them for their upcoming tests. Working side by side with other dedicated professionals, you will be a valued and integral part of the healthcare team.