So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Madison AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about selecting the right college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For example, you should find out if 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 considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Madison AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with 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 regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Madison AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve other options for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Madison AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often carried out in Madison AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
After you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Madison AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools 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 assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Madison AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Madison AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Madison AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Madison 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 keep in mind is that if you decide 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 typically 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Madison AL colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer 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 instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Madison X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Madison Alabama.