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 technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance 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 work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and also frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. 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 frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Opelika AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Opelika AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Opelika AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just make sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Opelika AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to verify 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Opelika AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on 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 assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Opelika AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Opelika AL in a new field can be challenging 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 an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Opelika AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Opelika AL colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher 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 an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Opelika AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Opelika X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech school is an important first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Opelika Alabama.