So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Oneonta AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Oneonta AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might 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 and routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Oneonta AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Oneonta AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Oneonta AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Oneonta AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school 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 factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Oneonta AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally 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 Oneonta AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Oneonta AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Oneonta 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 local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Oneonta AL colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Oneonta AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Oneonta X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiographer in Oneonta Alabama.