So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prattville AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Prattville AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled 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 will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Prattville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Prattville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often less costly than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Prattville AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure 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 review of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Prattville AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are assessing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Prattville AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Prattville AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Prattville AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Prattville AL schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student 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 a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Prattville X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the best radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Prattville Alabama.