So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Opp AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. 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 talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Opp AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may 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 plus frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish 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 select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Opp AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several accept other options for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Opp AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Opp AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Opp AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Opp AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Opp AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Opp AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing 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 great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Opp AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind 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. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Opp AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Opp 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 need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Opp X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Opp Alabama.