So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Lincoln AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional important qualifications as well. For instance, you should 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 education options that are available.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Lincoln AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Lincoln AL or their area. After 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.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, 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 Lincoln AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part 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 schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Lincoln AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often less costly than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online college you choose 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 an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Lincoln AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Lincoln AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Lincoln AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Lincoln AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Lincoln AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Lincoln AL schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Lincoln AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Lincoln X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Lincoln Alabama.