So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Jasper AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you go about picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently 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 so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Jasper 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 must take care of their equipment and regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected 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.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Jasper AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide other options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Jasper AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
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 schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Jasper AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online college 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 an online school may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Jasper AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools 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 put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. 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 aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Jasper AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the xray tech schools you are interested in have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Jasper AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Jasper AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Jasper AL residence. Students who have chosen 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. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Jasper AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jasper AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Jasper X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are considering before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Jasper Alabama.