So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Opelika AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about picking the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you must 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 reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Opelika AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 plus frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain 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 Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Opelika AL or their region. Once 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.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Opelika AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Opelika AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make certain that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Opelika AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain 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. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Opelika AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Opelika AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Opelika AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Opelika AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Opelika AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Opelika AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Opelika X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians 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 pleasant work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Opelika Alabama.