So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Madison AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the right college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical 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 may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Madison AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 have to take care of their equipment and also frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Madison AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Madison AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Madison AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Madison AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm 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 teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Madison AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Madison AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Madison AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs 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 substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Madison 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 local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Madison AL schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Madison X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Madison Alabama.