So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Calera AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Calera AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment and also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Calera AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Calera AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a part 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 programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Calera AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Calera AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Calera AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Calera AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Calera AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Calera AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Calera AL schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Calera AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Calera X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the right radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate 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. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate 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 evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Calera Alabama.