So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Chickasaw AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the right school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Chickasaw AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 must care for their equipment and regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained 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 technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Chickasaw AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements 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 tech school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept additional options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Chickasaw AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
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 no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Chickasaw AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Chickasaw AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation 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 online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Chickasaw AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Chickasaw AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Chickasaw AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Chickasaw AL home. Individuals 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Chickasaw AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chickasaw AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Chickasaw X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal radiology tech school is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get 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 patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Chickasaw Alabama.