So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Phenix City AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the ideal school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Phenix City AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize 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 also frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. 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 techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Phenix City AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many provide other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Phenix City AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Phenix City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be attended 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 hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you pick 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 online classes may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have selected the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Phenix City AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Phenix City AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the xray tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Phenix City AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Phenix City AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Phenix City AL home. Those who have decided 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 concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Phenix City AL colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Phenix City X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Phenix City Alabama.