So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near East Florence AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice 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 care for their equipment and regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete 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 Offered
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in East Florence AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve other options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not 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 East Florence 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 calls for re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in East Florence AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near East Florence AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may 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 ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of East Florence AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the East Florence AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in East Florence AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their East Florence AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the East Florence AL colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, check 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 carry. Also, learn what the protocol 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 technician school is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict 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 techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in East Florence Alabama.