So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Calera AL in order to become a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. 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 radiology tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Calera AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Calera AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number approve other options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Calera 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 demands re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Calera AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages 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 option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Calera AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Calera AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the xray tech schools you are evaluating have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Calera AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Calera AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Calera AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back 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 Calera AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Calera AL area, make sure 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 need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Calera X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the right x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Calera Alabama.