So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Clanton AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you need to ask whether or not 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 evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations 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 identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Clanton AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize 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 plus frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Clanton AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Clanton AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Clanton AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make sure 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 structured type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Clanton AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain 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 quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Clanton AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Clanton AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Clanton AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Clanton AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Clanton 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Clanton AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Clanton X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed 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 interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Clanton Alabama.