So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Boaz AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Boaz AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with 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 routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally 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 Tech Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges 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 clinics and hospitals in Boaz AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Boaz AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Boaz AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make sure that the online college you select 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.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Boaz AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program 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 gone through a detailed review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Boaz AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Boaz AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Boaz AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Boaz AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 program that is out of state or perhaps 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Boaz AL colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Boaz AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Boaz X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech school is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Boaz Alabama.