So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Muscle Shoals AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications also. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Muscle Shoals AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize 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 performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Muscle Shoals AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number accept other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Muscle Shoals AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires 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 ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a component 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 schools. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often provided in Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Muscle Shoals AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies 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 rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Muscle Shoals AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Muscle Shoals AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Muscle Shoals AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Muscle Shoals AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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 bear 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Muscle Shoals AL schools 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Muscle Shoals X-Ray Tech School
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Muscle Shoals Alabama.