So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Phenix City AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize 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 regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Phenix City AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer other options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Phenix City AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in Phenix City AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just make certain that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Phenix City AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not available 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 graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are assessing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Phenix City AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Phenix City 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 placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Phenix City AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Phenix City AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student 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 a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Phenix City X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best radiology technician college is an important first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed 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 furnish the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Phenix City Alabama.