So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prattville AL in order to become a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the ideal school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing examination. 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 looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications as well. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to utilize 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 opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Prattville AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 care for their equipment and routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Prattville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve other options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Prattville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools 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 online degree, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often performed in Prattville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just be sure 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 type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Prattville AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Prattville AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Prattville AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Prattville AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Prattville AL residence. Those 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 keep 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Prattville AL colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option 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 because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Prattville X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the right radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed 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 interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Prattville Alabama.