Beginning the task of seeking for radiology schools can seem daunting and can be a confusing process for those who don’t already know someone who has been through the process. You’ve got to understand all about accreditation, certification, licensing, and what type of job a certain degree level will get you. Hopefully, this article will serve to give you some ground rules when searching for radiology schools and sifting through the programs available.
The radiology community looks to an accrediting body called JRCERT, which stands for Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. When you are considering applying to radiology schools, be sure to check with the JRCERT web site to be sure they are an accredited institution. If they are not accredited through JRCERT and the state you will be living and working in is one of the few that doesn’t have certification or licensing standards, you may be able to get away with attending a school that is accredited through some other means; however, it is important that you do due diligence by contacting your state’s radiologic society or a trustworthy source to determine if the program you complete will get you the job you are seeking. It is always recommended that you look through job postings in your area and look for the trends in terms of what their requirements are.
Certification & Licensing Standards
Most radiology students in the United States will need to get both certified and licensed in order to a competitive job candidate for positions as a Radiologic Technologist. If you are only looking for limited licensure, you will want to check with your state’s regulatory body to find out what their standards are; however, it is recommended that you find a school that is acceptable to both JRCERT and ARRT. The ARRT stands for American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and it is the governing body that awards national certification as a Rad Tech. In order to become certified you will need to complete a radiology degree (certificate, associates, or bachelors) from an approved institution, then pass a test administered by the ARRT. The good news is that almost all approved radiology schools will sufficiently prepare you for this exam. Lastly, you will need to file for licensing through your state. Since each states requirements can differ, you will want to visit their web site and contact them with any questions you have.
Characteristics of a Quality Radiology School
Take your time learning about your options and don’t hesitate to request information from multiple schools and talk with school representatives. Does the school use the term “limited scope” or “technician” when it explains the types of jobs it will prepare you for? If so, you will want to dig deeper because it may not be a program that is approved with JRCERT or that will prepare you for certification with the ARRT. If the program states that they will prepare you for limited scope x-ray jobs, this usually means that you will only be able to perform a very small variety imaging tasks and can limit your potential when its time to look for jobs. If the program states that it will prepare you to be a Radiology Technician or an X-Ray Technician, be sure that’s the job your aiming for. Radiology Technicians usually have lower salaries than their ARRT certified counterparts-Radiologic Technologists.
In addition to the types of jobs the program is designed to prepare you for, you will want to compare the curriculum of various radiology schools. If one school only trains you on abdominal imaging techniques but the others go into more depth, there is probably a quality difference. Another quality indicator is to view the credentials of the instructors. If the instructors do not have at a minimum a bachelor’s degree in radiology or extensive experience in the field, you may want to take it into consideration.
The bottom line is that you’ve got to weigh your options and know your end goal before you jump into a radiology program. Talk with people who are practicing in your state and get the inside scoop. Don’t settle for vague descriptions. Get the facts and get your career started on the right note.