So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Phenix City AL so you can become a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you need to find out if 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 considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, 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 tech may utilize 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 analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils 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 more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Phenix City AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide 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 prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Phenix City AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
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 colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often performed in Phenix City AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Phenix City AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Phenix City AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician schools you are reviewing have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Phenix City AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Phenix City AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Phenix City AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Phenix City AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phenix City X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Phenix City Alabama.