So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Jacksonville AL so you can become a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifications also. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Jacksonville AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and also routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained 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 prevalent among technicians, generally requires 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 four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Jacksonville AL or their area. After 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.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several approve other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification 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 as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Jacksonville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Jacksonville AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among 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 undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Jacksonville AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Jacksonville AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Jacksonville AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Jacksonville AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Jacksonville AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AL area, check that they are offered. 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Jacksonville X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the right x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Jacksonville Alabama.