So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Ozark AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, 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 might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment and regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Ozark AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending 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 check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many accept additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Ozark AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Ozark AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less costly than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Ozark AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Ozark AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray technician schools you are assessing have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Ozark AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Ozark AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Ozark AL home. 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 area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Ozark AL schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Ozark X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed 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 social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Ozark Alabama.