So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Clanton AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same principal job function, 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 the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Clanton AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 have to maintain their equipment plus routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Clanton AL or their region. 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.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Clanton AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a component 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 schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often carried out in Clanton AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally cheaper than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Clanton AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. 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 acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Clanton AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Clanton AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Clanton AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement 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 substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Clanton AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Clanton AL schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Clanton AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Clanton X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray technician school is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate 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 techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is just as 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 final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Clanton Alabama.