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. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. 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. Many prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are other critical qualifications also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must 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 degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
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. Regardless of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Athens AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required 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.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Athens 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many accept other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Athens AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Athens AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Colleges
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Athens AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Athens AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Athens AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Athens AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement 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 substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Athens AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far 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 looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Athens X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the day and move 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 follow the safety requirements developed 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. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Athens Alabama.