So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prattville AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Prattville AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 and routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally 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 Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Prattville AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working 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 practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many accept additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Prattville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Prattville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Prattville AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Prattville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Prattville AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Prattville AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Prattville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Prattville AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Prattville X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians 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 deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Prattville Alabama.