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 technician. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the ideal school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. 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. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to employ 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 practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work 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 plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have received 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 common among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Ozark AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any 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
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several offer additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Ozark AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Ozark AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages 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 ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Ozark AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Ozark AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Ozark AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Ozark AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Ozark AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously 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 school 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 generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Ozark AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Ozark X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best radiology technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Ozark Alabama.