So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Ozark AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Ozark AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize 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 frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Ozark AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Ozark AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
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 even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Ozark AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Ozark AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Ozark AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician schools you are assessing have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Ozark AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Ozark AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Ozark AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Ozark AL colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, confirm 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Ozark X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Ozark Alabama.