So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Athens AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Athens AL hospitals, clinics, 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 also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 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 comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical 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 many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Athens AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number accept other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Athens AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
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 no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Athens AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Athens AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship 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 need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school 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 an extensive review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn 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. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Athens AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are evaluating have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Athens AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Athens AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Athens AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Athens AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Athens X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the right radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology 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 good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Athens Alabama.