So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Boaz AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may 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 in order to compare each program. Most prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are additional significant qualifications also. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
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 same primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Boaz AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and also frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. 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 technicians, 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 extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Boaz AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by 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 Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Boaz AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Boaz AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Colleges
When you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Boaz AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Boaz AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Boaz AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Boaz AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign 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 Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Boaz AL home. Those who have chosen 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Boaz AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Boaz AL area, confirm 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Boaz X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best radiology technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Boaz Alabama.