So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Athens AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, 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 article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Athens AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program 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 prevalent among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Athens 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 x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Athens AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Athens AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages 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 ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Athens AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Athens AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech schools you are reviewing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Athens AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Athens AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing 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 substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Athens AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Athens AL colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Athens X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or travel 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 realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Athens Alabama.