So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairfield AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, 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 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 also frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain 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.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Fairfield AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Fairfield AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Fairfield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just confirm that the online program you enroll in 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 ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Fairfield AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 review of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Fairfield AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the xray tech schools you are reviewing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections 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 graduating, but getting that first job in Fairfield AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Fairfield AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fairfield AL schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose 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 available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Fairfield X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get 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. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as 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 program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Fairfield Alabama.