So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Jacksonville AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake 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 radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications as well. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Jacksonville AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 have to maintain their equipment plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained 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 common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Jacksonville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Jacksonville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Jacksonville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Jacksonville AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Jacksonville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Jacksonville AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Jacksonville AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great 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 college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Jacksonville AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Jacksonville AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Jacksonville X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as 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 narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Jacksonville Alabama.