So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Madison AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might 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. Many potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Madison AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Madison AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Madison 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 demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in Madison AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section 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 approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online school you pick 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 online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Madison AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Madison AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are evaluating have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Madison AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Madison AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success 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 highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Madison AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Madison AL schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Madison X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the best radiology tech college is an important first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Madison Alabama.