So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Midfield AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications as well. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has 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 might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Midfield AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 have to maintain their equipment and also frequently assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of each 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 basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many 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 requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Midfield AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Midfield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make certain that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Midfield AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should find 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 selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school 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 recognized 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 frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Midfield AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Midfield AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Midfield AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Midfield AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Midfield AL schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Midfield AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Midfield X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the ideal x-ray tech school is an important first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal 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 article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Midfield Alabama.