So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Clay AL in order to become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. 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 discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Clay 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 have to take care of their equipment and frequently assess its performance and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Clay AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Clay AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of every 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 programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often conducted in Clay AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Schools
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Clay 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 college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations 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 help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Clay AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Clay AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Clay AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign 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 School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Clay AL residence. Students 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Clay AL schools you are considering what the typical 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 an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Clay AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Clay X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray 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 pleasant work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Clay Alabama.