So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Chelsea AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Chelsea AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 care for their equipment and frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Chelsea AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several accept other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Chelsea 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 calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Chelsea AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just make certain that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Chelsea AL. You will also need to determine 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 relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Chelsea AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Chelsea AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Chelsea AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Chelsea AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Chelsea AL schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Chelsea AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Chelsea X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the appropriate radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate 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 assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Chelsea Alabama.