So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Jacksonville AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Jacksonville AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 must maintain their equipment and frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Jacksonville AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, 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 Jacksonville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. 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. Practical training is usually conducted in Jacksonville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Jacksonville AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized 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 getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Jacksonville AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Jacksonville AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Jacksonville AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. 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 a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Jacksonville AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Jacksonville AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Jacksonville X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the right x-ray tech school is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians 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 pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at before making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Jacksonville Alabama.