So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Muscle Shoals AL in order to become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional titles 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 identical primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 maintain their equipment and routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 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 nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor 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 working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several accept other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Muscle Shoals AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a component 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 schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Muscle Shoals AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make certain that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Muscle Shoals AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? 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 crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 detailed review of their instructors 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 organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Muscle Shoals AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Muscle Shoals AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Muscle Shoals AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Muscle Shoals AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Muscle Shoals AL colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Muscle Shoals X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects 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. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Muscle Shoals Alabama.