So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Oxford AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Oxford AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 take care of their equipment and frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Oxford AL or their region. After you have graduated from one 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 Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several offer other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Oxford AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
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 no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Oxford AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Oxford AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Oxford AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Oxford AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Oxford AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Oxford AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Oxford AL colleges you are looking at what the average 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 a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Oxford X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the right x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Oxford Alabama.