So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Anniston AL in order to become a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to utilize 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. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Anniston AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment plus regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of all 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 primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice 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 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Anniston AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Anniston AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a part of every 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 earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often carried out in Anniston AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Anniston AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative 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 assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might 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. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Anniston AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the xray tech schools you are assessing have partnerships 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 clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Anniston AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Anniston AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Anniston AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Anniston AL schools 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Anniston X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right radiology tech degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Anniston Alabama.