So you have made the decision 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 made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about choosing the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require training 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 evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not 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 evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Fairfield AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize 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 regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Fairfield AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Fairfield AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a part 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 schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Fairfield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section 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 learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just be sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Fairfield AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized 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 getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. 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 college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Fairfield AL health care 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 challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing 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 students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Fairfield AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? 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 probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Fairfield AL colleges you are considering what the typical 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 converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairfield AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fairfield X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Fairfield Alabama.