So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Muscle Shoals AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Muscle Shoals AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned 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 prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Muscle Shoals AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide additional options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Muscle Shoals AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often performed in Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just make certain that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Muscle Shoals AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online 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 secondary expenditures will be an important variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may 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 school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Muscle Shoals AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Muscle Shoals AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Muscle Shoals AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Muscle Shoals AL colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student 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 radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, verify 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Muscle Shoals X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the right x-ray technician college is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Muscle Shoals Alabama.