So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Meridianville AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Meridianville AL clinics, hospitals, 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 maintain their equipment and also routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Meridianville AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. 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 Meridianville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, 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 programs. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually provided in Meridianville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just be 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 best option for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Meridianville AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance 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 assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Meridianville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Meridianville AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Meridianville AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Meridianville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Meridianville AL colleges you are looking at 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 speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you finally select can offer 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 Meridianville AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Meridianville X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the right radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly 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 demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiographer in Meridianville Alabama.