So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Atmore AL in order to 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 tackle selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Atmore AL hospitals, clinics, 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 have to take care of their equipment and also frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally 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 Technician Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive 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 keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often 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. 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.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Atmore AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Atmore AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Atmore AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged 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 often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Atmore AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the xray technician programs you are interested in have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Atmore AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Atmore AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Atmore AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Atmore AL schools you are looking at what the typical 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 converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Atmore AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Atmore X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right radiology tech school is a critical first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Atmore Alabama.