So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Ozark AL so you can become a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the right school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Ozark AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might work with 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 also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained 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 common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Ozark AL or their area. After 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept additional options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Ozark AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Ozark AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Ozark AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Ozark AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Ozark AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Ozark AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid 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 highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Ozark AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Ozark AL schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate 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 as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Ozark X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the ideal radiology tech college is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Ozark Alabama.