So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prichard AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Prichard AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 take care of their equipment plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college 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 prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most 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 schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Prichard AL or their area. After you have graduated from one 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
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Prichard AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a component 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 schools. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Prichard AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Prichard AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 undergone a detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Prichard AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Prichard AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Prichard AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Prichard AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Prichard AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Prichard X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Prichard Alabama.