So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prattville AL in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Prattville AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize 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 regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. 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, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Prattville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Prattville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often carried out in Prattville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just confirm that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Prattville AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Prattville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Prattville AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Prattville AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Prattville AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable 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 sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential 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 available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Prattville X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right radiology tech college is an important first step toward starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed 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. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Prattville Alabama.