So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fort Payne AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Fort Payne AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 plus routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of each 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 prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Fort Payne AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech 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 criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing 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. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Fort Payne AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Fort Payne AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just make sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Fort Payne AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure that the program and school 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Fort Payne AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Fort Payne AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Fort Payne AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Fort Payne AL home. Those who have opted 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. Something to consider is that if you decide 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically 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 far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Fort Payne AL colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fort Payne AL area, check 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, ask what the procedure 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 Program
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed 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. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Fort Payne Alabama.