So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Calera AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if 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 evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Calera AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 have to take care of their equipment and regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Calera AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many offer additional options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Calera AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Calera AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting 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 online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Colleges
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Calera AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 undergone a detailed examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Calera AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are assessing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Calera AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Calera AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Calera AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Calera AL colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student 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 several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Calera AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours 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 obligations.
Choose the Right Calera X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the ideal radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward starting a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Calera Alabama.