So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Boaz AL in order to become a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
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, each has the same major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Boaz AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with 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 regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Boaz AL or their region. After you have graduated from one 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 Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Boaz AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Boaz AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make certain that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Boaz AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Boaz AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are assessing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Boaz AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Boaz AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Boaz AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Boaz AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Boaz AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Boaz X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the right x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. 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 good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Boaz Alabama.