So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairfield AL in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. 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 talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice 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 have to care for their equipment plus regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. 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 select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Fairfield AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several provide additional options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Fairfield 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 calls for re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a part of any 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 even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Fairfield AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Fairfield AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course 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 agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Fairfield AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Fairfield AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Fairfield AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Fairfield AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear 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 commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within 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 smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fairfield AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairfield AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Fairfield X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the best x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians 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 good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of 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 options and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Fairfield Alabama.