So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prattville AL so you can become a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Prattville AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 have to care for their equipment plus routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Prattville AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number accept other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Prattville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a part 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 programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in Prattville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
After you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Prattville AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Prattville AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are evaluating have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Prattville AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Prattville AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Prattville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Prattville AL schools you are reviewing what the average 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 an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Prattville X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the right radiology tech school is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray 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 has been addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Prattville Alabama.