So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Oxford AL so you can become a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
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. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental 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 treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Oxford AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and also regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 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. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Oxford AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous 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 requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Oxford AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Oxford AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to verify 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Oxford AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Oxford AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Oxford AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. 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 might need 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 don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Oxford AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Oxford X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the ideal x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Oxford Alabama.