So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Millbrook AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Millbrook 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 must maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally 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 Tech Degrees
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Millbrook AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be working 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 licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Millbrook AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Millbrook 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 residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Millbrook AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Millbrook AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Millbrook AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Millbrook AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Millbrook AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Millbrook AL colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Millbrook AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Millbrook X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the ideal radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Millbrook Alabama.