So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Atmore AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician 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 may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Atmore AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize 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 frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth 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 Tech Degrees
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained 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 typical among techs, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Atmore AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide additional options for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Atmore AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often provided in Atmore AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Atmore AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies 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 acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Atmore AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Atmore AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Atmore AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Atmore AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Atmore AL schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Atmore AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Atmore X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the ideal radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Atmore Alabama.