So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Opelika AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Opelika AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Opelika AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve other options for testing as well. Some states also require 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 might improve your career options in and around Opelika AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Opelika AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. 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 approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Opelika AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn 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 guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Opelika AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Opelika AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Opelika AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Opelika AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Opelika AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately select can furnish 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 Opelika AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Opelika X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate radiology tech school is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians 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 available patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Opelika Alabama.