So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Chickasaw AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Chickasaw AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required 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 Technician Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar 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 curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Chickasaw AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ 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 accept other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Chickasaw AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Chickasaw AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online program you pick 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 choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Chickasaw AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Chickasaw AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Chickasaw AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Chickasaw AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Chickasaw AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Chickasaw AL colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chickasaw AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Chickasaw X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Chickasaw Alabama.