So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Madison AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Madison AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 must maintain their equipment and also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed 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 Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned 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 typical among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete 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. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Madison AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many offer other options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might 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 rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges 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 large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Madison AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages 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 ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing 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 obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among 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 gone through a detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Madison AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Madison AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Madison AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing 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 corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Madison AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Madison AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Madison X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Madison Alabama.