So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fort Payne AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location 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 inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Fort Payne AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Fort Payne AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Fort Payne AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Fort Payne AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Fort Payne AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask 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 decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also receive 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 help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Fort Payne AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray technician programs you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Fort Payne AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Fort Payne AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Fort Payne AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fort Payne AL colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fort Payne AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. 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 Best Fort Payne X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the right radiology technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe 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. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Fort Payne Alabama.