So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Chickasaw AL in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers as well. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Chickasaw AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 and regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Chickasaw AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve 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 examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Chickasaw AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Chickasaw AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to make sure 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Chickasaw AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Chickasaw AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Chickasaw AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success 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 graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Chickasaw AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Chickasaw AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chickasaw AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Chickasaw X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the best radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Chickasaw Alabama.