So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pike Road AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Pike Road AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 plus regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Pike Road AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by 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 school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Pike Road AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
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 portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Pike Road AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often less costly than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you select 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 ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Pike Road AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local 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 an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies 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 evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Pike Road AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are assessing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Pike Road AL health care community and assist 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 Pike Road AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Pike Road AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pike Road AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Pike Road AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative 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 may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Pike Road X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Pike Road Alabama.