So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Alexander City AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Alexander City AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Alexander City AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Alexander City AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Alexander City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Alexander City AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also obtain 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. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Alexander City AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are assessing have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Alexander City AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Alexander City AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Alexander City AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Alexander City AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alexander City AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Alexander City X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Alexander City Alabama.