So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Jasper AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation 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 compare each program. Many students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Jasper AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may 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 routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep 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 Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Jasper AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many accept additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Jasper AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a part of any 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 colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Jasper AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Jasper AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out 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 looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. 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 superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Jasper AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray tech schools you are interested in have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Jasper AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Jasper AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Jasper AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind 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 typically 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Jasper AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Jasper AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Jasper X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate radiology technician college is an important first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Jasper Alabama.