So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Muscle Shoals AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you go about picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment plus regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Muscle Shoals AL or their region. After 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 practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept additional options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Muscle Shoals AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Muscle Shoals AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to verify that the program and school 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 a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program 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. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Muscle Shoals AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Muscle Shoals AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Muscle Shoals AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Muscle Shoals AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Muscle Shoals AL colleges 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Muscle Shoals X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the best x-ray tech college is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Muscle Shoals Alabama.