So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Alexander City AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Alexander City AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and also frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Alexander City AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other options for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Alexander City AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Alexander City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Alexander City AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out 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 assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Alexander City AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Alexander City AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Alexander City AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Alexander City AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Alexander City AL colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Alexander City AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Alexander City X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Alexander City Alabama.