So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Oxford AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can 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 and routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils 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 takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Oxford AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many provide additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Oxford 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 calls for re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Oxford AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Oxford AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program 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 undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain 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. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Oxford AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Oxford AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Oxford AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Oxford AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Oxford AL colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse 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 finally you must verify that the radiographer college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Oxford X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiographer in Oxford Alabama.