So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pike Road AL in order to become a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has 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. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Pike Road AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment plus routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Pike Road AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Pike Road AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled 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 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 degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Pike Road AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Pike Road AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure that the school and program 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Pike Road AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Pike Road AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Pike Road AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Pike Road AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pike Road AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pike Road AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Pike Road X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal radiology tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Pike Road Alabama.