So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Anniston AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Anniston AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 and also routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected 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.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Anniston AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one 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.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional options for testing also. A number of states also require 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 might enhance your career options in and around Anniston AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same 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 college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Anniston AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Anniston AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. 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 help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Anniston AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray technician schools you are reviewing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Anniston AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Anniston AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Anniston AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Anniston AL colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want 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 perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have 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.
Choose the Right Anniston X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Anniston Alabama.