So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Meridianville AL so you can become a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Meridianville AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. 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, normally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Meridianville AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Meridianville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in Meridianville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. 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 style of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Meridianville AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider 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 learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged 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 assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Meridianville AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are reviewing have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Meridianville AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Meridianville AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Meridianville AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Meridianville AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse 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 finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Meridianville AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Meridianville X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the ideal radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain 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 patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Meridianville Alabama.