So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Millbrook AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor 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 discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Millbrook AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may 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 regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have received 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 prevalent among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Millbrook AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Millbrook AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
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 programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Millbrook AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you select 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 an online school may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Millbrook AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges 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 should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain 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. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Millbrook AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are assessing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Millbrook AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Millbrook AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer 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 sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Millbrook AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Millbrook AL colleges you are looking at what the typical 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 talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Millbrook AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Millbrook X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians 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 deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiographer in Millbrook Alabama.