So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Muscle Shoals AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to find out if 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 examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, clinics, 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 also frequently assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish 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 expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Muscle Shoals AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech 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 criteria vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many offer other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Muscle Shoals AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Muscle Shoals AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Muscle Shoals AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among 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 undergone a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it might also receive 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. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Muscle Shoals AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are interested in have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Muscle Shoals AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Muscle Shoals AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Muscle Shoals AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Muscle Shoals AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Muscle Shoals X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Muscle Shoals Alabama.