So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near East Florence AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in East Florence AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might 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 plus frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each 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 standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to consider 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 a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in East Florence AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around East Florence AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist 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 the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically conducted in East Florence AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges 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 choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized 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 offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many East Florence AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the East Florence AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in East Florence AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their East Florence AL residence. Students 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have 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 don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the East Florence AL schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, make sure 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 need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right East Florence X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in East Florence Alabama.