So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Anniston AL so you can become a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you need to ask whether or not 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 examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose 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 work with 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 and also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Anniston AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several provide other options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Anniston AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in Anniston 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 usually find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Anniston AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations 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 assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Anniston AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray technician schools you are interested in have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Anniston AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Anniston AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Anniston AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Anniston AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol 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 best radiology tech college is an important first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability 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 technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Anniston Alabama.