So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Opelika AL in order to become a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are additional significant qualifications as well. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Opelika AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also regularly evaluate its performance 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 attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils 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 course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Opelika AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Opelika AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in Opelika AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online college you pick 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 online classes may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Opelika AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 undergone a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Opelika AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Opelika AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Opelika AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Opelika AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 consider is that if you choose 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Opelika AL schools you are considering 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 talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Opelika AL area, verify that they are offered. 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Opelika X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with 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. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Opelika Alabama.