So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Midfield AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Midfield AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might 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 routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned 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 typical among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Midfield AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Midfield AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often performed in Midfield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less costly than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make certain that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Midfield AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Midfield AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Midfield AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Midfield AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering 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 students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Midfield AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Midfield AL colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Midfield AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Midfield X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the ideal x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed 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 good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Midfield Alabama.