So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Florence AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions 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 radiology technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Florence AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 and also frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Florence AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Florence AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Florence AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort 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 often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Florence AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain 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. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Florence AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician schools you are interested in have relationships with regional 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 means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Florence AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Florence AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Florence AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Florence AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher 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 speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Florence X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right x-ray technician college is an important first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiographer in Florence Alabama.