So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Oxford AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the right school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Oxford 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 take care of their equipment plus frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Oxford AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ 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 purpose of licensing, but a number approve other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Oxford AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually performed in Oxford AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Oxford AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Oxford AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Oxford AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Oxford AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success 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 a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Oxford AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Oxford AL schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Oxford X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians 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 good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Oxford Alabama.