So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Athens AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask if 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 provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use 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. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Athens AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools 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 many 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 licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once 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 mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Athens AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Athens AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often less costly than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just confirm 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 formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Athens AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Athens AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Athens AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Athens AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high 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 College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Athens AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Athens AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Athens X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the appropriate radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology 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 deliver the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Athens Alabama.