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. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as 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 utilize 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 assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth 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 basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related 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 may frequently be fulfilled by taking part 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 one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve other options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Alexander City AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
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 programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often conducted in Alexander City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just confirm that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Programs
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Alexander City AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Alexander City AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are reviewing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Alexander City AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Alexander City AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Alexander City AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Alexander City AL schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Alexander City AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Alexander City X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech school is an important first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Alexander City Alabama.