So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Lincoln AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. 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 discuss what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Lincoln AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize 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 plus frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Lincoln AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require 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 accept additional options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Lincoln AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Lincoln AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Lincoln AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute 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 expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Lincoln AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Lincoln AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Lincoln AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer 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 sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Lincoln AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Lincoln AL colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lincoln AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Lincoln X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed 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. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Lincoln Alabama.