So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Florence AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work 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 so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Florence AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 have to take care of their equipment plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Florence AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept additional options for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Florence AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often performed in Florence AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently more affordable than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Florence AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. 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 help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Florence AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the xray technician schools you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Florence AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Florence AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Florence AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big 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. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Florence AL schools you are considering 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 final 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 also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Florence X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the right x-ray tech college is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Florence Alabama.