So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Oxford AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are other important qualifiers as well. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Oxford AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Oxford AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number accept additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Oxford AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a component of any 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 schools. So while 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. Clinical training is often performed in Oxford AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But 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 practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college 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 right option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Oxford AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. 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 assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Oxford AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Oxford AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Oxford AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. 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 an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Oxford AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Oxford AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Oxford X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Oxford Alabama.