So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Calera AL so you can become a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about selecting the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of 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 begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifications also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Calera AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four 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 may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Calera AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check 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 a number provide additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Calera AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to 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 Tech Degrees
As a part 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 while you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Calera AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges 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 of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial 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 rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Calera AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are reviewing have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Calera AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Calera AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Calera AL residence. Students who have opted 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 bear in mind is that if you decide 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Calera AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Calera AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Calera X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the ideal x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Calera Alabama.