So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Jacksonville AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications as well. For example, 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 reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Jacksonville AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might 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 also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. 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, normally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Jacksonville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Jacksonville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a component of any 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 programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Jacksonville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Jacksonville AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain 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. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Jacksonville AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech programs you are evaluating have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Jacksonville AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Jacksonville AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Jacksonville AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even 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 generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Jacksonville AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. 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 credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Jacksonville X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the right radiology technician college is an important first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Jacksonville Alabama.