So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Clay AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Clay AL hospitals, clinics, 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 maintain their equipment and frequently analyze 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.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Clay AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Clay AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Clay AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Schools
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Clay AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among 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 gone through a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. 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 obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Clay AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray technician schools you are interested in have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Clay AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Clay AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Clay AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Clay AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Clay AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Clay X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate radiology technician college is a crucial first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Clay Alabama.