So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairfield AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the right school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based 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 looking at in order to compare each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Fairfield 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 take care of their equipment plus regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Fairfield AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Fairfield AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually provided in Fairfield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally cheaper than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online school you choose 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 online classes may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
After 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 schools near Fairfield AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out 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 compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to make sure 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 detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Fairfield AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are assessing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Fairfield AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Fairfield AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Fairfield AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big 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 probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fairfield AL schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairfield AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Fairfield X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position 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 follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Fairfield Alabama.