So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Ozark AL in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the right school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
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. Regardless of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Ozark 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 must take care of their equipment and routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Ozark AL or their area. Once 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 Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Ozark AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Ozark AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just confirm that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Ozark AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider 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 find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Ozark AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Ozark AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Ozark AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Ozark AL residence. Individuals 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. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Ozark AL colleges 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 converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Ozark X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the right x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with 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. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Ozark Alabama.