So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fort Payne AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications also. For instance, you must 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 x-ray technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Fort Payne AL hospitals, clinics, 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 must take care of their equipment and also frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Fort Payne AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide additional options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Fort Payne AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
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 no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Fort Payne AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges 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 of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Fort Payne AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Fort Payne AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Fort Payne AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Fort Payne AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Fort Payne AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fort Payne AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fort Payne X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the best x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Fort Payne Alabama.