How to Skip the 5-Year Wait at Junior College & Become a Radiologic Technologist in California

Are you one of the many people who want to become a Radiologic Technologist in California? If so, then you’ve probably heard that there is currently a 5 to 6 year wait list at most junior colleges in California. To clarify, this waitlist isn’t referring to completion time for the radiology program. Instead, the 5 year wait refers to just getting started.

This poses numerous challenges for the average person who wants to pursue a career as a Radiologic Technologist in California. It also makes becoming a radtech very difficult, especially considering the college timeline. To put this into perspective, keep in mind that the average college student is 18-19 years of age. That said,  the average student simply can’t afford to wait 5 to 6 years just to begin their training. That’s 5 to 6 years before you figure out if you even enjoy radiology, or want to pursue becoming a CRT.

In this article, we’ll run through some common scenarios and questions that future radiologic techs have when we meet. We’ll also discuss how becoming an X-ray Technician in California before becoming a CRT can fast-track your career and help you skip the wait list at CA junior college radiology programs. While reading these, keep in mind that these are all simply options. There’s a few ways to complete your CRT training in California, and this is one of them.

Difference Between X-ray Technician and Radiologic Technologist in California

Before we begin, and in order to avoid any confusion, let’s talk about the differences between X-ray Technicians and Certified Radiologic Technologists (CRT) here in CA. Hopefully this will provide you with more insight on how to become a radiologic technologist in California.

Where do X-ray Technicians work in California?

  • Clinics
  • Urgent Care
  • Orthopedic Offices
  • Corporate Imaging Centers
  • Sports Medicine Clinics
  • Physical Rehabilitation Centers
  • Private Practice

An X-ray Technician, also known as a Limited Scope X-ray Technician, works closely with physicians, clinical staff, as well as with patients in order to take x-ray images. They perform basic x-rays on legs, arms, wrists, chest/torso, legs, knees, etc. Usually they are working with your basic injuries or symptoms, especially considering the types of places they find work.

In California, X-ray Technicians (XT) also usually double as medical assistants, and cover a wide gamut of job responsibilities concerning professional patient care. Working closely with patients, XT’s help them relax, walk them through the process, protect them from radiation, and deliver results to physicians in order to help them diagnose a patient’s condition.

Where does a Certified Radiologic Technologist work in California?

CRT’s on the other hand, generally work in the larger hospitals and deal with high-trauma victims. They also work with patients who have greater injuries than sprained ankles, broken arms/legs, whiplash or carpal tunnel. RadTechs often work with patients who exhibit more major conditions and symptoms. Not only do they take their testing orders directly from physicians, but they often collaborate directly with both physicians and radiologists.

While the two are similar careers, both in the field of radiology, there are some vast differences between the two. Another major difference is the amount of time spent in school and educational requirements to become a Radiologic Technologist in California. While we could cover it all here, you’d probably be here reading for quite some time.

Instead, if you have more questions on the difference between X-ray Tech and RadTech in California, give us a call and ask our Admissions Advisor. Or if you’d like, add the question to your list and bring it to your one-on-one.

The 5 to 6 Year Waitlist to Become a Certified Radiologic Technologist in California

The biggest struggle for most people who want to become a Certified Radiologic Technologist in California is the wait list. Most junior colleges in California have a 5 to 6 year waiting list, prior to enrollment in their radiology program. This poses a lot of challenges for prospective radiology techs, but also affects interest in the industry.

Let’s take a look at some of the issues with the wait-list for becoming a CRT in California:

  • Imagine being fresh out of high school, excited to follow your career-path, but are instead forced to wait 5 to 6 years (conservative numbers) before even beginning radiology training
  • Some of the best years of your life — which should be devoted to education, are instead spent in limbo
  • You’ve got to wait all this time just to find out if you even enjoy radiology and Diagnostic Healthcare
  • If the sight of blood or working with high-trauma bothers you, you may not find out until it’s too late
  • While waitlisted, you may not be earning, or working in a field that inspires you

While we could go on about all of the things that are wrong with this scenario, we’ll leave the rest up to you. That said, we understand that nobody likes sitting in line. Especially when that line is 5 to 6 years, just to begin your journey. Let’s continue to take a look at the standard radtech career path before we dive into other options.

Finding work as a Certified Radiologic Technologist in California After you Complete Your Radiology Training

Have you noticed that there haven’t been too many new hospitals being built here in Southern California. This is important to keep in mind, as most CRT’s find work in larger hospitals. Furthermore, if you want to become a radiologic technologist in California, keep in mind that you’re going to have to deal with seniority. With the lack of new hospitals, comes competition. It also means that if senior radiologic techs aren’t retiring, you’ll be competing with them for their positions and shifts.

Most people who successfully complete their radiology program become a radiologic technologist in California deal with this. If you’re one of the lucky ones that get hired, you’ll usually start working night shifts or graveyard. Of course, this is when most senior CRT’s don’t want to work. Moreover, you’ll be working with high-trauma in the ER, so if you’re squeamish when it comes to the sight of blood, it’s better to know early-on.

X-ray Technicians, on the other hand, work in smaller clinics with patients exhibiting less drastic injuries/symptoms. We meet many students each year who come in wanting to become a radiologic technologist in California. Most have no idea about what it’s like out in the field, especially during your first few years after hire.

How to Become a Radiologic Technologist in California and Skip the 5 Year Wait List at Junior Colleges

Now that we have posed the challenges and addressed some of the issues with how most people approach their radiology career path, let’s look at one possible fix. If you want to become a Certified Radiologic Technologist in California, but don’t have 5 years to spare for a waiting list, you’re not alone. In fact, most people don’t. We’re now at an era where people are finding more creative career paths. That is, finding a different route to the same end point.

Many people who want to become a Certified Radiologic Technologist in California aren’t aware that you can become an X-ray Technician first, then go on to become a radtech after completing your training. What’s more, is that you can complete an all-inclusive X-ray Technician Program in just 12-months, including your clinical internship.

Let’s Take a Look at the XT-First Career Path for Those Who Want to Become a Radiologic Technologist in California:

  • Enroll in an ACCSC accredited college, which offers an all-inclusive X-ray Technician Program, like the one at Modern Technology School
  • Start learning immediately, and get the training you need to become an X-ray Technician in California
  • Take advantage of the included Medical Assistant Cross-Training to develop your patient care skills
  • Start networking and proving your worth at your X-ray School provided clinical internship
  • Take your CA X-ray Technician Examination after completing your 12 month X-ray Technician Program
  • Hopefully begin working as an X-ray Technician — remember you’ll be earning if you’re working (after just 1 year of training)
  • Work just 1 year in the field as an X-ray Technician before returning to a private radiology college
  • You’ve officially skipped the 5-year wait list for the radiology program at the junior college and are on your way

This career-path and fast-track isn’t for everyone. But either is becoming a radiologic technologist. Many of the students we meet who initially wanted to become a radiologic technologist in California decide to stay at the X-ray Technician level. That said, there’s always the opportunity to return to a private radiology program and advance their career.

Moreover, remember that while you’re out there hopefully gaining experience, that you’re also earning. This is important for those who have bills like the rest of us normal folks. You’re also able to see how much you enjoy radiology before committing the next 5-8 years of your life to waiting to start.

Call Modern Technology School and Find Out How Becoming an XT First Can Help You Become a Radiologic Technologist in California

The fast-track method to become a radiologic technologist in California isn’t for everyone. However, it’s definitely a viable option for many people with real-life needs and immediate career goals. Our hope is to get you to where you want to be, whether it’s becoming an X-ray Technician or CRT.  To learn more about the fast-track to becoming a Radiologic Technologist in California, call us and ask for Admissions.

Our friendly Admissions Advisor will walk you through the process of how to become a Radiologic Technologist in California. We keep it 100% transparent here, so if becoming an X-ray Tech first isn’t something you want to explore, we completely understand. That said, considering the wait and the number of hospitals being built these days, it’s definitely something to consider.

You can enroll in our 12-month all-inclusive X-ray Technician / Medical Assistant Program with just your high school diploma. Class sizes are kept small on purpose; we want students to be immersed in the X-ray Technician training. We have several radiologic technologists on our faculty and staff, with many decades of experience between them. X-ray Tech classes start every other week, but fill-up quickly due to our small sizes.

Great Options for those Who Want to Become an X-ray Tech Before they Become a Radiologic Technologist in California

  • We offer day and evening X-ray Technician classes in order to help work with your schedule & lifestyle
  • Work and learn hands-on in classrooms and real-life x-ray labs
  • Clinical Internship is included as part of the program — intern in a live clinic towards latter portion of x-ray training
  • Financial Aid is available to those who qualify
  • We accept the GI Bill from our beloved Veterans who want to study Diagnostic Healthcare
  • Job Placement Assistance is included as part of our X-ray Technician program
  • You will receive medical assistant cross-training and can sit for the National Medical Assisting Certification Examination
  • No additional charge for textbooks, scrubs, or parking on campus!
  • Work hands-on alongside qualified, compassionate instructors who will guide you every step of the way

We know you probably have more questions, and we’re here to answer them! If you want to become a Radiologic Technologist in California, there are other options out there. The 5 to 6 year wait list isn’t your only hope. We’re here to help you forge a successful future in radiology — either as an X-ray Tech or RadTech, or both. Give us a call and let us walk you through becoming an X-ray Tech vs. Certified Radiologic Technologist.

Call us today and ask us about the alternate pathway to becoming a CRT in California. We look forward to meeting you and finding out about your goals. We also look forward to answering your questions about our Orange County X-ray Technician Program!

Fast-Track Your Radiology Career

 Become an X-ray Technician Before

You Become a Radiologic Technologist in California

X-ray Tech Classes Start August 7th in Orange County!

Financial Aid is Available to Those Who Qualify!

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