So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Florence AL so you can become a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle choosing the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not 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 examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can 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 function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can work 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 maintain their equipment and frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 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 comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Florence AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many approve additional options for testing also. Several 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 have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Florence AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Florence AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just confirm that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Florence AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Florence AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Florence AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Florence AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Florence AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Florence AL schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Florence X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling 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 day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology 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 provide the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Florence Alabama.