So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Chelsea AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications also. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Chelsea AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with 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 regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually 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 four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Chelsea AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Chelsea AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Chelsea AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Colleges
After you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Chelsea AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Chelsea AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician programs you are interested in have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain 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 may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Chelsea AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Chelsea AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement 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 students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Chelsea AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Chelsea AL colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chelsea AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Chelsea X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the right radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray 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 productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Chelsea Alabama.