So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Center Point AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Center Point AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment plus regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Center Point AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Center Point 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 calls for re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually provided in Center Point AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Center Point AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have received some form 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 gone through a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Center Point AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Center Point AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Center Point AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Center Point AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Center Point AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Center Point AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Center Point X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the appropriate radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Center Point Alabama.