So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Opp AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Opp 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 have to care for their equipment and frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Opp AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Opp AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a component of every 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 programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often performed in Opp AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Opp AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on 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 premium education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Opp AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Opp AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Opp AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Opp AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Opp AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Opp AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Opp X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech college is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe 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 doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right education and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Opp Alabama.