So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Millbrook AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Tech Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Millbrook AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with 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 regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth 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 Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college 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 common among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Millbrook AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Millbrook AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Millbrook AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Colleges
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Millbrook AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Millbrook AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Millbrook AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Millbrook AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great 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 college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Millbrook AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online 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 keep in mind 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Millbrook AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Millbrook AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Millbrook X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate radiology tech school is a critical first step toward starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Millbrook Alabama.