So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Atmore AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Atmore AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 maintain their equipment and routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep 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 Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Atmore AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Atmore AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Atmore AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you pick 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 best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Atmore AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school 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 educational materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Atmore AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are assessing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Atmore AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Atmore AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Atmore AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Atmore AL colleges you are considering 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Atmore AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Atmore X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the ideal x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Atmore Alabama.