So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Madison AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications as well. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to utilize 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. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, 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 may 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 plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may 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 certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Madison AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
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 no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial 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 family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just confirm that the online program you enroll in 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 degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Madison AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative 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 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 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 assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Madison AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Madison AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Madison AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication 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 many students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Madison AL residence. Individuals who have opted 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. Something 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Madison AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want 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 opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, make sure 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Madison X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the best x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are considering before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Madison Alabama.