So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Meridianville AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For example, you need to find out 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 considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless 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 may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Meridianville AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 take care of their equipment plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete 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 Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Meridianville AL or their region. After 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.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Meridianville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often provided in Meridianville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Meridianville AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school 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 an extensive evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Meridianville AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are reviewing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Meridianville AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Meridianville AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Meridianville AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Meridianville AL colleges you are considering 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 talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Meridianville AL area, verify 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 have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Meridianville X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing 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 post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Meridianville Alabama.