So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Phenix City AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For example, you should ask if 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 talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 care for their equipment and frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Phenix City AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many provide additional options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Phenix City AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. 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 Technician Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Phenix City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Phenix City AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material factor also. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program 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. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Phenix City AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Phenix City AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Phenix City AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing 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 highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Phenix City AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online 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 perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Phenix City AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option 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 obligations.
Choose the Best Phenix City X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the ideal radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Phenix City Alabama.