So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Clay AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional significant qualifications as well. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should 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 degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Clay AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 plus regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Clay AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Clay AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a component 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 colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large 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 hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make certain that the online school you enroll in 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 school may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Clay AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The cost 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 reviewing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid 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 Clay AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Clay AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Clay AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Clay AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Clay AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Clay 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Clay X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Clay Alabama.