If you are like the millions of Americans contemplating going to school, you have a long list of options to choose from. Whether you have just graduated from high school or are thinking about going back to school for a different degree, there are many different degree paths you can follow. If you are considering a career in becoming an x-ray technician, you may want to consider the ACR Career Center X-ray Technician program. Let's take a look at what this program offers and why it might be a good choice for you.
What Is the ACR Career Center?
ACR stands for the American College of Radiology. ACR, which was founded in 1923, provides education in all the radiology departments from diagnostic to nuclear medicine. ACR has chapters in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. ACR also has chapters in Puerto Rico and Canada. They are represented on the Council of Affiliated Regional Radiation Oncology Societies (CARROS).
ACR educational programs follow the ACR Appropriateness Criteria. These guidelines are evidence-based. They help referring radiological physicians and other providers make the best imaging or treatment decisions based on a localized clinical problem. When using these guidelines, providers increase the quality of care by offering the most effective use of different radiology departments.
In 1993, ACR officials appointed a task force to create these criteria. They started deliberations to develop a program that would be nationally accepted, was based on scientifical guidelines, and that would assist practitioners in making correct radiological decisions for specific clinical conditions of their patients. This provides the ACR with different perspectives on the best use of radiology while using the least amount of health care resources.
When the ACR Appropriateness Criteria was put into place, the task force brought in attributes for medical practice guidelines that were used by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which was developed by the Institute of Medicine. These guidelines follow eight attributes for medical practice.
Attributes for Medical Practice Guidelines
This means using guidelines that are valid. Assessments are done according to the quality of the evidence and the method used for that evaluation.
Reliability and Reproducibility
The ability of other experts to recreate similar outcomes when using the same process to evaluate the same evidence.
Each guideline needs to have explicit descriptions as it pertains to patient populations.
All guidelines must be clearly understood and need to be listedin an understandable mannerthat is easy to follow.
Providers working with similar afflictions should have a voice in the guidelines developed for that particular affliction.
All guidelines will have scheduled reviews in order to see if revisions are needed based on the current scientific evidence.
Every aspect for developing a procedure needs to have documentation concerning the development procedure, those who participate in the procedure, the evidence collected on the procedure, and the methods used to analyze the process.
Guidelines that list current and possible exceptions.
X-Ray Technician Education & Training
If you are thinking about going into the X-ray Technician field, you will first need your associate's degree in radiology. Once you have your degree, you will need to be licensed in the state you will be working in. Each state has different requirements to be licensed. You can also earn a voluntary certification by going through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
All degrees must be obtained through a program that has been accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JCERT) or other accredited program approved by the American of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
Basic Skills Needed
Recommended Five Steps to Becoming a Certified X-ray Technician
To give you a little deeper understanding of how to become a Certified X-ray Technician, there are five steps that professionals recommend you to complete.
Step 1: Complete a Post-secondary Program
The first step is to complete a post-secondary program. As mentioned above, all training programs have to be accredited by JCERT or from other accredited agencies that have been approved by ARRT. You are unlikely to find a job if your degree is from an institute that is not accredited.
These programs offer certificate, associate's and bachelor's degrees. The most common degree held by X-ray technicians is an associate's degree. Regardless of which level you choose, the coursework will usually consist of classroom and laboratory studies. These courses consist of anatomy, medical terminology, how to position patients, how to use proper radiation protection, infection control, and how radiation affects the body.
Some certificate or degree programs offer internships at locations such as hospitals, imaging centers, and specialized doctor's offices that have their own x-ray department. These internships will help you maximize your hands-on experience and gain valuable experience.
Step 2: Get Certified
Once you have completed an x-ray technician program, you can apply for certification through the ARRT. They award the Registered Technologist (RT) credentials. Although this certification is optional, many employers are looking to hire those who have it.
To be eligible for certification, you have to have graduated from an accredited program and pass the ARRT written exam. The exam lasts roughly four hours and consists of 220 multiple-choice questions that are scored as a pass/fail. Biannual recertification is also required.
According to the ARRT, each individual is required to complete 24 hours of continuing education credits or pass an examination that is given every two years to maintain their certification. The purpose of these requirements is to assure that each x-ray technician is up-to-date on the current radiological technology and that they are committed to learning more about their profession and how it is evolving.
Step 3: Obtaining Licensure
Many states require that x-ray technicians be licensed before they can apply for a position. There are five states, Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, and Nevada, that have separate requirements for mammography. Also, to become licensed, some states require licensure periods that range from one to four years.
Step 4: Gain Employment
Most x-ray technicians work a 40-hour week in different locations. You could be working in a hospital, imaging center, in a doctor's office that operates their own x-ray department, or in a location such as a rehabilitation center.
Step 5: Consider Advancement Options
For those x-ray technicians who are certified and have experience, there is the option of receiving additional certification from ARRT. This additional certification can allow you to advance in your career. It can help you gain employment as a radiologist assistant or have the opportunity to specialize in a specific diagnostic equipment such as MRIs and CT scanners.
You can also advance your career by becoming an instructor at a community college. You could also become a radiologic equipment salesperson or get a promotion to a department head. There are many different ways you can advance in your career as a X-ray technician.
ACR Career Center X-ray Technician Programs and Info
The ACR Career Center offers Lifelong Learning and CME activities. The center has a learning catalog that offers a number of products that you can purchase that can be used for educational purposes. They offer different modules that are self-assessments and provide numerous question and answers and up-to-date references.
The ACR Career Center also offers an education center where you can take their daily Case in Point assessment. It gives you the opportunity to work through different cases that have been developed by the online community. The ACR Career Center's education center also provides activities that cover an array of radiological techniques from abdominal imaging to transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
You may also want to take advantage of the center's in-training exams, lung cancer screening education, mammography case reviews, and radiologic pathologic courses. These are just a few of the offered learning activities, and new educational worksheets and cases are added regularly.
The ACR Career Center Offers training through their Radiology Leadership Institute. It has its own catalog that lists programs for webinars, leadership training, residential and fellow training, mid-career training, and an assortment of online programs and courses that you can take from the comfort of your own home.
Because the ACR Career Center offers a broad array of education opportunities, many of these opportunities cover the Continuing Medical Education Credit (CME). These credits can be used for the additional 24-hour continuing education licensing requirements.
As we have described above, the ACR Career Center offers opportunities for growth for x-ray technicians. It offers very comprehensive learning programs which provide x-ray technicians with the extra training they need to meet the requirements to stay relevant in the world of radiology. You can learn more about the ACR Career Center by visiting their website at www.arc.org.