So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Lanett AL so you can become a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about choosing the right school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs 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 so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same 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 administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Lanett 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 have to maintain their equipment and frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received 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 techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Lanett AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Lanett AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as 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 Technologist Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Lanett AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Lanett AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged 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 securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Lanett AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Lanett AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Lanett AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good 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 number of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Lanett AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Lanett AL schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lanett AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Lanett X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close 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 necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Lanett Alabama.