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 chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Alexander City AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Alexander City AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many accept additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Alexander City AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. 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 part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Alexander City AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just confirm that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Alexander City AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to verify 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Alexander City AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the xray tech schools you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Alexander City AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Alexander City AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Alexander City AL residence. Individuals 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 importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Alexander City AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher 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 several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alexander City AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Alexander City X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate radiology technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are looking at before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Alexander City Alabama.