So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairfield AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate 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 commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications as well. For instance, you should ask if 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 considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Fairfield AL clinics, hospitals, 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 have to take care of their equipment and frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Fairfield AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Fairfield 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 other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often performed in Fairfield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Fairfield AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also earn 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. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Fairfield AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are evaluating have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Fairfield AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Fairfield AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Fairfield AL home. Those who have opted 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Fairfield AL schools 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairfield AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option 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 might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Fairfield X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the right radiology technician college is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing 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 move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed 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. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Fairfield Alabama.