So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Alexander City AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Alexander City AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 maintain their equipment and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Alexander City AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Alexander City AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Alexander City AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Alexander City AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Alexander City AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Alexander City AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Alexander City AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Alexander City AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Alexander City AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Alexander City AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Alexander City X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology tech college is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you decide on 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 motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Alexander City Alabama.