So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Auburn AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Auburn AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 have to maintain their equipment and frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Auburn AL or their region. 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 Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several offer additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Auburn 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 requires re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Auburn AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Auburn AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, 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 a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations 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 assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Auburn AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Auburn AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Auburn AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools 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 substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Auburn AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Auburn AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Auburn AL area, check 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 carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Auburn X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best radiology tech school is a critical first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Auburn Alabama.