So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Florence AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper 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 test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers also. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Florence AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils 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 two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Florence AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Florence AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Florence AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just make certain that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Florence AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing 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 essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to make sure 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the college 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. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Florence AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Florence AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Florence AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Florence AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Florence AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Florence X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology tech school is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good 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 school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. 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 analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Florence Alabama.