So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Lanett AL so you can become a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Lanett AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may work with 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 regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Lanett AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several provide other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Lanett AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Lanett AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online school you pick 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 ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Lanett AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Lanett AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Lanett AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Lanett AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Lanett AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Lanett 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 an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lanett AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Lanett X-Ray Tech School
Picking the best radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school 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 final choice. And with the proper education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Lanett Alabama.