So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near East Florence AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor 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 radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as 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 view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in East Florence 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 routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally 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.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program 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 common among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in East Florence AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many approve other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around East Florence AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
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 while you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in East Florence AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near East Florence AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor 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 Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized 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 getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous East Florence AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the East Florence AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in East Florence AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their East Florence 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the East Florence AL colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative 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 due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right East Florence X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with 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 interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in East Florence Alabama.